The Delights of Dublin – city of a thousand welcomes

‘Are you going to offer your research on emotional resilience?’ asked my very good friend when the call for papers for the 3rd EMCC Research Conference arrived. ‘Hmm, I might’ I responded, trying to sound nonchalant and feeling slightly anxious at the thought. ‘I tell you what’, I said, ‘I’ll offer my research on one condition: that if I’m successful you come and co-facilitate the workshop with me.’

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Ofsted – requiring improvement

requires improvementI was around when Ofsted was invented.  As part of the training, we had a presentation from a head who had undergone a trial Ofsted. ‘Trial’ was an accurate description of his experience.    It sounded terrible.  ‘Do I really want to be part of this?’ I asked myself.  In the end, I decided perhaps I might manage it with some humanity and compassion – which seemed to be missing from the account we heard. In those days schools got months of notice, which led to considerable energy being expended to get all their paperwork in order – and led to a wonderful comment by a headteacher prepared to take control of the situation: ‘We will put on our best coat for Ofsted; we are not buying a new one’. It may sound like a cliche, but it really was a huge privilege to be allowed into schools and celebrate the good work that was going on – and highlight where it wasn’t.  I worked with some dedicated colleagues who were determined to do their best for the school.

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Supporting emotional resilience

bright idea‘Bother’, I thought; ‘I can’t see how to open this to check the fuse.’ The 4-way adapter had died. The on-light was not illuminated, so I wanted to open it and check the internal fuse. No time at the moment. I left it 2 days. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t mend itself. ‘ A trip to Argos’, then, I thought, mildly irritated. Then, ‘Hang on’, I said to myself; ‘what about changing the fuse in the plug?’ Hey presto! It worked and I have to confess I felt rather smug at having saved myself time and money by replacing the fuse in the plug (time 2 seconds; money: approx. 10p) rather than walking (happily, I can) to Argos (time 15 minutes; money about £15.00).

That got me thinking. How often do we as leaders miss the obvious cost-effective solution? This week I’ve been looking again at my research on emotional resilience for school leadership. Why emotional resilience? Because managing our emotions is ultimately what allows us to continue without being overwhelmed.

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