‘Regarding your emotional intelligence and leadership research’

A while ago I came across a retweet; the original tweet was from a primary school teacher and from what I can gather a very passionate primary school teacher at that. Her Twitter username is @RobertsNiomi and below is a copy of the original tweet.

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Now, I’m not normally one to respond to this type of open request but I was compelled to do so for 2 reasons. Firstly, I am really interested in emotional intelligence and I believe it isn’t given the credit it deserves in leadership. I’m not sure of any consideration being given to it when recruiting leaders in education. However, my field of experience in leadership is not so vast so it may, in fact, be happening in places. Secondly, I was further compelled to respond as there was nothing good on TV!

The DM I sent is below (minus the numerous typos, spelling mistakes, and expletives!).

‘I think emotional intelligence is, without doubt, one of the most important things in leadership and unfortunately the most difficult skill/attribute to develop.

Being able to assess emotional states and go on to be able to choose the correct course of action, be it to empathise, challenge, reason with, engage, read, grow, empower and inspire, is an ability that is extremely rare. The truly great leaders possess such attributes – not just those leaders in education but leaders in all walks of life.

Personally, I believe emotional intelligence is something that schools up and down the country should be investing in. Emotional intelligence, much like intelligence, to some extent may be genetically predetermined. However, what Dweck tells us about intelligence (the fact that it is not a fixed trait but can be grown) is surely inclusive of emotional intelligence? If this is in fact true, to not offer emotional intelligence CPD to leaders is seeing schools ‘miss a trick’. For some schools I believe this type of CPD would see huge impact; for others it would be a marginal gain but what I do know to be true, is that nobody ever got worse at their job by knowing and understanding the people they lead. I’d say that is a nailed on fact!

Sorry about the ramble, but you asked for it!

As you can see I think emotional intelligence is a big deal!

Hope I have helped.’

(Can you remember the days when we only got 146 character for a DM😜)

The response I got from @RobertsNiomi is below:

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A couple of months ago, I watched a TED talk by Rita Pierson. I urge you to watch it; she’s funny and the message she sends is clear from the word go when she references James Comer. “No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship”. I whole heartedly believe this.  The best teachers invest in their students: they get to know them; they find out what makes them ‘tick’; they are able to empathise with them; they make them believe that they believe in them. I think the best leaders should do exactly the same. Perhaps, “no signicant [leading] can occur without a significant relationship”

How much investment in do schools offer middle and senior leaders in developing and honing emotional intelligence? Does emotional intelligence CPD exist? Is anyone offering it?  If so, has it changed how you lead day in, day out?

I wait in anticipation for the findings of @RobertsNiomi little research project and I wish her all the best in her presentation.

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