Books

How to be a trauma informed leader

The coronavirus pandemic – and the response that has been required by the education system, is truly one of the most pressing challenges schools have ever faced. Many school leaders are experiencing serious ‘carers’ load’ and ‘vicarious trauma’ as a result of their staff and students’ challenges.

Books

Leading through disruption and into the future

The coronavirus pandemic – and the response that has been required by the education system, is truly one of the most pressing challenges schools have ever faced. Many school leaders are experiencing serious ‘carers’ load’ and ‘vicarious trauma’ as a result of their staff and students’ challenges.

Books

Leadership renewal for women in schools

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, burnout amongst teachers, school leaders and staff was at an all time high. As we continue to navigate the impacts of the pandemic, it is important to find opportunities to reflect, reconnect and refocus.The Australian Schools Women’s Leadership Summit provides a unique opportunity for women at all levels of school leadership to connect, share their experiences, build their leadership capacity and prioritise their own wellbeing.The summit, facilitated by Dr Janet Smith and Dr Debra Kelliher, will cover these three key themes:Where to from here?Guiding our schools through the coronavirus pandemic and continuing to prioritise patient care has placed extraordinary demands on school leaders across Australia and the world. This critical juncture presents a timely opportunity to reflect and learn from our recent experience and rethink the way we have done things in the past.Relational agencyHigh functioning teams are essential to the busy work of schools, yet as a team leader in a school do we know why effective teams work and why there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’? We’ll look at what makes a healthy team, the concept of ‘relational agency’ and the characteristics of trust – the essential foundation of a team. Useful for both team leaders and team members in schools.Inspiration and insights from inspirational women leadersDuring the summit, participants will hear from several inspirational education sector speakers about their leadership/career journeys and the key elements that have contributed to their success.Speakers include:Tanya Plibersek MP, Shadow Minister for Education, Shadow Minister for Women, Federal Member for SydneyDr Briony Scott, Principal, Wenona SchoolKristen Douglas, National Manager & Head, headspace SchoolsDr Jessa Rogers, First Nations Senior Research Fellow, Queensland University of Technology; Managing Director, Baayi ConsultingAnd more! The pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on school leaders, who have been on the front lines dealing with unprecedented disruption for over two years. This summit will provide opportunities to be inspired by experts, connect with other school leaders, recharge leadership strategies and envisage and plan for the future. You can find out more and book your seat here.  WE NEED MORE LEADERS LIKE YOUYou’re here because you know that great leadership enables better teaching and learning. We’re here to help you be a great leader within your school community. For more leadership news, plus event updates and expert tips, subscribe to our mailing list. SUBSCRIBE NOW

Books

Understanding and increasing your Social Capital

Our Wellbeing with NESLI series brings you essential wellbeing tools and downloadable resources that enhance the wellbeing of teachers, school leaders and school communities. In this edition of Wellbeing with NESLI, we look at Social Capital.Social Capital is an important factor when considering the wellbeing for your teachers, school staff and school leaders. A school community that enjoys robust social capital for everyone will lead to better student outcomes and boost morale across students, teachers and staff alike.There are three critical dimensions to social capital in the school community. These include:Bonding Social Capital: the day to day, interpersonal interactions that you and your teachers and staff have with each other. You can see this by looking out for friendly conversation, shared interests and a genuine connection and conversation between individuals.Bridging Social Capital: the social interactions and cohesiveness experienced between teams – not just the individuals in a team, but in inter-team cooperation and cohesion. You can see this by looking out for teams that work well together to support the outcomes of the other teams, and are able to identify opportunities for collaboration.Linking Social Capital: the social interactions that occur between different levels of seniority in the organisation – for example, the rapport between a junior member of staff and a member of your school’s leadership team. You can see this by looking for open collaboration and communication between different levels of leadership teams and individuals.This Social Capital poster provides a handy summary.To delve a little deeper, download the Social Capital Dimensions resource here to find out about three other types of social capital to look out for, and to complete a self-assessment of your own social capital.NESLI’s Staff Wellbeing Toolkit builds social capital within schools through a flexible, self-paced program. Find out more here.Downloadable resources:Social Capital posterSocial Capital Dimensions resource WE NEED MORE LEADERS LIKE YOUYou’re here because you know that great leadership enables better teaching and learning. We’re here to help you be a great leader within your school community. For more leadership news, plus event updates and expert tips, subscribe to our mailing list. SUBSCRIBE NOW

Books

Understanding and using the Ladder of Inference

Our Wellbeing with NESLI series brings you essential wellbeing tools and downloadable resources that enhance the wellbeing of teachers, school leaders and school communities. In this edition of Wellbeing with NESLI, we look at the Ladder of Inference. Do you ever jump to conclusions without carefully considering all the facts? Sometimes, it is easy to take a raised eyebrow, pause in conversation, email or a glance at a mobile and immediately assume that a fellow teacher doesn’t support your suggestion, or isn’t interested in your pitch for a new activity in the classroom. However, this isn’t always the case.The Ladder of Inference model, created by Chris Argyris, gives you a framework to examine the conclusions you draw from everyday interactions at school. To strip it back to the basics, the Ladder of Inference reminds us to use all the data we have available to us to draw a conclusion – not just the data we immediately notice. The example below gives a summary of how you may move quickly up the Ladder of Inference without considering all the information available.There are four steps on the Ladder of Inference: See and hear: you see a parent looking at their phone while their child does a presentation at assembly.Constructing a story: you might quickly assume that the parent is not interested in their child’s work and effort because they aren’t paying attention.Think and feel: you could feel frustrated or angry with the parent, and sympathy for the child who is being ignored. You might think that the parent does not care enough about the child’s learning.Say and do: you might communicate less openly and positively with the parent, or even ask them to look away from their phone and give attention to their child. You might give the child extra feedback and attention.In this scenario, the information you might be missing is that the parent also has a sick child at home, who needs assistance. The parent may also have an urgent work-related matter to attend to, or an elderly parent who needs something. Therefore, what you have inferred from their actions (that they aren’t supportive of their child) is unfounded, and your subsequent reaction is not proportionate.It is easy to move quickly up the Ladder of Inference – most of us do it subconsciously, and in seconds. Taking the time to recognise when you are climbing the ladder, and to then come back down to examine the data before coming to a more rational conclusion is an important skill for leaders in school environments.Here are some questions that can help you unpack your assumptions and reactions: How many times have I leapt up the ladder in the last week?What were the beliefs I held or the assumptions I made?Were the assumptions I made fair and accurate?Do I have all the information I need to know what is going on here?What impact will my actions or words have in this situation?How can I be more curious about the situation, and mediate my response? You can find out more about the Ladder of Inference by downloading the Ladder of Inference poster. Sharing this model with your team and colleagues can create a shared language and understanding, and can be a helpful prompt for team building. WE NEED MORE LEADERS LIKE YOUYou’re here because you know that great leadership enables better teaching and learning. We’re here to help you be a great leader within your school community. For more leadership news, plus event updates and expert tips, subscribe to our mailing list. SUBSCRIBE NOW

...
...

How to be a trauma informed leader

Books

By Suzi Finkelstein

The coronavirus pandemic – and the response that has been required by the education system, is truly one of the most pressing challenges schools have ever faced. Many school leaders are experiencing serious ‘carers’ load’ and ‘vicarious trauma’ as a result of their staff and students’ challenges.

This series of ‘recharge’ blogs explores themes and models that school leaders, teachers and staff can come to in times of stress, or to replenish their leadership capacity. In this blog, we look at how the principles of trauma informed leadership can support you and your school community.

What is trauma informed leadership?

Have you ever struggled with your wellbeing and engagement at work after an unexpected or traumatic event? If you have, you’ll know that the kind of leader you work with has a big impact on how you recover.

Trauma informed leadership enables you to lead in a compassionate, inclusive manner, that ultimately empowers those you lead to grow through a traumatic event. It emphasises nurturing leadership that builds trust and empowers the resilience of your staff, and your school more broadly. Adopting trauma informed leadership strategies will help improve better staff retention as well as health and wellbeing in your school community.

There are five key principles to trauma informed leadership:

  • Safety
  • Choice
  • Collaboration
  • Trustworthiness
  • Empowerment

 

What does trauma informed leadership look like?

In times of disruption, leaders need to switch from ‘business as usual’ leadership and adopt a more collaborative and encouraging style of leadership, to foster positive connections and culture in the school environment. Using trauma informed leadership principles will enable your school community to heal, learn, adapt and excel, even in the face of adversity.

To be a trauma informed leader, you should:

  • Practice the five trauma informed leadership principles above. This can be achieved by consulting and collaborating with all members of your school community.
  • Foster a supportive environment for your team. You can do this by actively listening, taking action on people’s concerns and actively including all your teachers and staff in work and social activities.  
  • Ensure psychological and physical safety. Enable this by fostering a ‘no bullying’ culture, not just amongst students, teachers and staff, but also amongst parents and carers. Listening to and believing teachers when they come to you to report incidents or express their concerns is also important.
  • Use adaptive leadership skills. This can be achieved by thinking outside the box when presented with an issue, being flexible and helping members of your school community to embrace uncertainty.
  • Try to understand individuals in your school community holistically. This is an easy one; making an effort to gently enquire about the weekends, evenings and any hobbies and activities of individuals in your community will give you a holistic view of them, both as they are in the school community, and beyond. Not only will this increase your rapport and social capital, but it will also allow you to better understand their actions and response to different situations.
  • Offer support to your staff, teachers, students and families. Having an ‘open door’ policy will encourage members of your school community to come to you if they ever need support. Make sure you have an in-depth understanding of the support that the school itself can offer, and also other community groups or services that might be able to help.

 

When we think of trauma, the first thing that usually comes to mind is a broken bone, or PTSD that is the result of a dramatic, unforeseen, terrifying circumstance. However, the nature of the pandemic over the past few years has caused trauma and unrest for a great number of us. By practicing trauma informed leadership in your school community, you will provide a safe space for people to re-engage with the traditional learning community, and to heal and move forward.

 

WE NEED MORE LEADERS LIKE YOU

You’re here because you know that great leadership enables better teaching and learning. We’re here to help you be a great leader within your school community. 

For more leadership news, plus event updates and expert tips, subscribe to our mailing list. 

SUBSCRIBE NOW