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Leading Our Schools in Uncertain Times


Every hour is a new development in the world currently. It’s a perfect example of a VUCA world - volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguity. Holding the space for the inevitable hard decisions and holding the space for people is the complex work of the ferocious warmth leader. Leading with head and heart.

Here is some thinking that I hope will help you and your leadership teams:

SEE THE OPPORTUNITY - we are more adaptable than we think
I worked in Christchurch after the earthquakes with community services. The topic we were working on wasn’t related to the earthquake, but on how organisations were aligning their technology strategies to their major strategic direction. The earthquake was the major topic of conversation though. The biggest take home for me discussing the devastation of the earthquake on the community was the fast uptake of the aged care nurses in putting their file notes digitally instead of writing them down. They were kept in the cloud rather than down the bottom of a filing cabinet. This cohort can sometimes have the label of the 'slowest to change', yet here they were, rising to the occasion and the urgency.

What opportunities for evolving delivery, getting things done that can be done remotely by your teams, or creating a stronger link to your community does this situation present for you? Does this give you a clear idea of what sort of scenario planning and risk management you should have in place?

To quote the very quotable Brene Brown: ‘Clear is Kind, Unclear is Unkind’
Even in uncertainty we can be certain about a number of things:

  • What we do know and what we don't
  • What we are doing and what we are not
  • How we will be constantly keeping people in the loop
  • How we are here to help

Make your communication consistent - where can people rely on getting the information from? Keep it regular. Help people feel safe through your strong link to them.
Keep  communication calm - over-reaction is a heated response to the unknown.  Keeping our cool in stressful environments is critical to being balanced.

By doing this, people can down regulate the impact of their emotions. Research by neuroscience and neuroleadership expert Dr Matthew Liebermann and his team from the University of California has studied this phenomena using fMRI machines that track bran responses.
When identifying and labelling our emotions, their research shows that we can reduce the response to negative images of the limbic regions of the brain and the amygdala.

Ferocious Warmth leadership in our current context matters so much.  Optimism, possibility and stability  ( and fact based reality checks!) is what our teams and communities need from us now.

Ferocious Warmth Leadership - connecting heads and hearts.

Thinking of you all at this time!