This blog comes from Justin Robbins and Karen Dempster, co-authors of ‘How to Build Communication Success in Your School’ and workshop facilitators at “Education for the Soul” Conference 2018.
When trying to develop effective communication approaches that promote collaboration and drive positive outcomes, an important starting point to understand what makes your school stand out from the crowd is its vision.
The power of a vision in schools is well documented. It is stated that if you do not know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? A vision is a ‘north star’ against which all decisions are made.
But how about a personal vision? Should a leader have a personal vision that guides their day to day decisions and shapes their plans against which they measure their success? Well we think so. Here are three things to consider if you want to develop a meaningful personal vision that inspires those around you to deliver their best every day…
It is easy to limit your beliefs without realising. How often do you think “I can’t do that because…” rather than “I can achieve that if…”? As Steve Jobs once said “Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world usually do” And as Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
So approach your vision with a positive mindset. If your vision is to make a difference in a certain area, ask yourself what you need to enable you to do that, to overcome the barriers you will face? A positive vision has the potential to truly inspire those who you lead.
A vision should open up new possibilities rather than be confined to what you know. Thinking about the opportunity rather than the reality produces positive energy and excitement for you and those around you, who are more likely to be at their best when they feel that the door to their creativity is open because it is role modelled by you.
While it is a personal vision we’re thinking about, the most compelling and inspiring are rarely personally focused, but designed to serve. For example, Bill Gates’ vision of putting a computer in every home was one of enabling a nation, rather than serving a personal agenda.
If you are an inspirational communicator it is very likely that you will inspire others to follow your lead and buy into your vision. To become an inspirational communicator you need to become a great listener. As Dr Stephen R. Covey said in his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ – Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.
Develop an understanding of what drives your communication preferences – whether you are people focused or task focused. This will affect how you prefer, under normal circumstances, to communicate with others, and how you like others to communicate with you. Through being a great listener, you will be able to recognise when those you lead do not see the world through the same eyes as yours, and therefore have a more meaningful communication.
Developing your own personal vision as your north star is not an activity to be done when you have a spare few minutes. It requires deep personal reflection and consideration of your deepest hopes and fears. However, being positive, thinking big and listening are three actions that will help you to develop and live your personal vision.
On the 18th October 2018, Karen Dempster and Justin Robbins joined us for our “Education for the Soul” Conference in which they shared how leaders can develop a personal leadership vision and how this reflects your communication style.
The conference centred around the theme of “Creating New Narratives for the School Leaders’ Journey” and was designed to extend the conversation around school leadership, well-being and standards in our schools.
It is fair to say, the day was a very special one and a huge success with so many school leaders and education professionals joining us for this. It was so wonderful to watch these individuals drop their leadership masks and come together, in service of one another and in service of shared hopes, dreams and ambitions for our children and our schools.
Following the success of this conference, every year we now host Headteachers & School Leaders for this special conference.
The next Education for the Soul” Conference will take place in October 2022 and will feature a new selection of expert speakers and workshop hosts, who will be sharing their insights into how school leaders can look after their own well-being, get the most out of those they lead and deliver the best outcomes for their pupils.
The conference will aim to build on the outcomes of our previous “Education for the Soul” conferences and seek to explore how school leaders and teachers can learn to lead with integrity, depth and purpose.
As part of this, we will look into how individuals can stay connected to their “why” and their deepest values. Above all, “Education for the Soul” 2022 will aim to help school leaders and teachers:
– Foster a deep sense of vocation and purpose amongst all staff
– Increase their understanding of the relationship between school development and personal development
– Keep hope, joy passion, commitment and creativity at the heart of their school and relationships with self and others