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the Good, the Bad and the downright ….
Forbairt Post Primary, Feb 3, 2015/ ‘16
Warmth and Competence
Passive FacilitationPassive Harm
Leading from the front...
Great leaders connect emotionally
• Create a balance between strategic and intimate
See bigger picture issues-logical, formal, highly
structured, protected, armoured –keep a safe distance
Engage in the intimate interactions-interested in the
person not power, informal and humorous –’let the
guard down’ –decision making is highly emotionally
Disagree and fight for alternatives –still maintain the
hierarchical alliance (Dr Philip Matthews NCI)
Features of authentic leadership
• To move seamlessly between strategic and
• Treat people in terms of potential rather than
• Intimate leadership needs to be spontaneous,
to engage people, to have a laugh, to let the
• Vital importance of trust
(Dr Philip Matthews NCI)
What Kind of Leadership?
More recent research has this to say:
One of the most reliable indicators and predictors of
true leadership is an individual’s ability to find
meaning in negative events and to learn from the
most trying of circumstances...
Difference is inevitable......
• ‘if you please everyone, you aren’t making
enough progress’ Mark Zukerberg (Facebook)
Without some conflict………
• Professional smugness
• Focus on convergent thinking
• Paucity of Innovation
• Fear of Change
• Teacher isolation
• Teacher insulation
‘Too much homogeneity makes rich conflict impossible’.
Conflict is essential for Growth
• A driver of Change
• Builds understanding of Difference
• Fosters a culture of Open communication
• Dissipates Anger and Frustration
• Stimulates Professional Dialogue
• Challenges the Status Quo
• Motivates people to suggest ‘ANOTHER WAY’
Positive conflict- a necessary ‘tension’ for
How do you manage ‘creative tension’ for Change in your school?
Social Status Consequences
Information Communication Discussion Inclusion Procedures
The Conflict Triangle
What could be
Managing CHANGE through positive CONFLICT
Duration 30 second pitch 3 minute pitch 30 minute pitch
• Climbing the stairs
• Over Coffee in the
• At the Photocopier
• After school
• Meeting with DP
• Meeting with AP’s/YH’s
• Subject Dept. Meeting
• Staff Meeting
• On the way to Class
• Waiting for the kettle
• With Dolphins/Puppies
• With Hibernating Bears
• Key Calendar moments
• Creating curiosity
• Sowing a seed
• PROS v CONS
• WHAT WE DO NEXT?
Focus • Heart • Head • Hands
Think of a change you are considering in the school- one with the potential to cause some
conflict . Have a look at the 30/3/30 handout to help you plan your strategy
Starting the conversation:
‘ Might there be another way?’
Worries ? Thinking ? What might you do ?
Concerns ? Knowledge ? How do we begin?
‘Questions are the heart and soul of constructive conflict’
Thoughts on the groundwork
• How connected am I to others? The critical importance
of the fundamental relationship...not a personal
relationship but a professional, trusting one.
• Leaders get isolated if people are not being listened
• Important to take the pulse:- (end of day/week activity)
• Who have I lost touch with?
• Who have I not spoken to?
• Who has not sought my attention?
• Who has not been listened to?
(based on Séan Ruth)
Responding to Conflict
• Self Control ( Awareness, Self Talk)
• Win/Win ( Needs first, solutions
• Listen and Clarify ( Focus on the
problem, not the person)
• Explore Options
• Discuss supports
• Agree follow up
(Adapted from” Leadership and Liberation” Sean
• ‘You can listen people into agreement a lot more
quickly that you can argue them!’ (S.Ruth)
• Focus on the problem-useful phrases
Let me see if I understand what you are saying..
Tell me more....
Why do you think that will work....
Focus on feelings not behaviours...
Build relationships.... (don’t rush in to rescue)
Responding to Conflict
Win/Win!!What do you need?
Recognising ‘critical junctures’ when trying to mediate
in a dispute between two people
Cognitive Shifts- misunderstandings/misinterpretations
Growing understanding- redressing previous assumptions
When fears and emotions are expressed
When specific issues/ needs/ interests are mentioned
But when conflict turns toxic….
• Individual Stress
• Staff Morale
• Education Dysfunction
• Stunting of Mission/Vision
The personal toll
• Small ‘t s’-humiliation, shaming ,aggression, embarrassment
unkindness.....dealing with this using reason and logic fails to
resolve it –a scar remains. Induce calm and develop an
awareness of what you are experiencing ( the triggers / the
origin) then seek solace/supervision?
Raising awareness of the personal toll
• Emotional fitness-
‘developing emotional fitness, literacy, maintenance
and depth is understood to contribute to sustainable
personal and professional growth and school change’
Ordinary people doing an
Certain indisputable facts:-
• We are all vulnerable
• We will face challenges and encounter crises
• We underestimate our capacity to cope
The ‘Myth’ of the Complete Leader
Recent research is encouraging:
‘hundreds of people have struggled under the weight
of the myth of the ‘complete’ leader! It is now
becoming clear that an ‘incomplete leader’ who is
authentic is likely to be more effective’
Ancona, Malone & Senge ‘In Praise of the Incomplete Leader (2011) HBR