Emotions influence the quality of the decisions we make, behaviours that we demonstrate and our productivity.
The ability of school leaders to positively engage and influence their teams is higher during periods of productivity; being able to understand the environment and emotions teams are operating within are critical.
The period of remote teaching and learning added a level of complexity to this that has never been experienced before.
This recording explores practical tools and techniques for leading a remote team and positively influencing their wellbeing and productivity in a crisis environment.
This resource was developed by the former Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership.
KATE MORRIS: Good morning, everyone. My name is Kate Morris, I'm the Interim CEO at Bastow, and we're delighted to have you joining us today for the Genos webinar around Leading Remotely. Delighted to be joined with our expert Ian Hamilton; Damien Keel, who's with us from Yarrawonga P‑12; and Jillian English, from Strathmore Secondary College. If you could hop on to the chat at the bottom of your screen now and tell us what school you're from and where you're joining us from, that would be fantastic.
IAN HAMILTON: Thank you, Kate. This is Ian. Good morning, everybody. I'll be facilitating the webinar this morning. We do have just over 2 minutes to go before our start and that's a great time to get comfortable, but also to grab a pen and paper. So if you do have a pen and paper to hand, that will be very useful for one of the activities that I'll be running during the course of the webinar. Great to see, Kate, we're up at 120 people already.
KATE MORRIS: Great. That's fantastic, Ian. Great to see all from New South Wales, Shepparton, brilliant to see our colleagues from Mount Waverley, Claire from Suzanne Cory, Tanya from Mount Waverley and our specialist schools represented as well, which is absolutely fantastic.
IAN HAMILTON: So once again, for those of you who have just joined in the last minute, my name is Ian Hamilton. I'm being joined by Kate Morris and her team and we'll do those introductions formally in a moment. If you have a pen and paper close to hand, that will be very useful for this webinar. So you do still have another minute or two to grab those and make yourself comfortable and grab a drink and we will start at 8.30 promptly.
KATE MORRIS: Fantastic. Cambridge Primary School, we've got Karen from South Yarra. Thanks for joining us.
IAN HAMILTON: So we're over 150, Kate.
KATE MORRIS: Fantastic. Good to see Maria Oddo with us this morning. She's from Bastow and will be coordinating the chat today for us, one of our past principals from Keilor Downs Secondary College.
We've got people from Geelong, Warrnambool East ‑ hi, Michelle. Our business manager colleagues ‑ Joanne from Bairnsdale, Rubicon Outdoor Centre, Marty from Bendigo, absolutely brilliant, New South Wales colleagues as well sharing our professional learning and experiences with our colleagues in other states.
IAN HAMILTON: Wonderful. Well, Kate, it is 8.30. I can see we're just getting close to 200 people. I think we should start promptly. So formally I'd like to open the webinar now and welcome everybody to this hour‑long session on Leading Remotely. This is one in a series of webinars that Genos have partnered with the Bastow Leadership Institute on over the last couple of weeks and I would encourage you if you haven't tuned into those other webinars, there still is an opportunity to register for those this week and we would love to see you.
My name is Ian Hamilton, from Genos International. I'll be facilitating the webinar. Just a few words of housekeeping before I hand over to Kate. To maximise the learning experience, your microphones have been deliberately placed on mute. That's because any small background noise when multiplied can become quite distracting, so keyboard noise, for example, is the classic challenge we face when all mics are open. So the way we would like to hear from you is via the chat box and I can see Kate has already been reading out some of the comments that have been posted already. That's a great way for you to feel connected to us as a team who will be facilitating and moderating this webinar.
Chat is a great place to put comments, offer suggestions. The other option you have is to use the Q&A box. That's probably best for questions and, once again, the team will keep an eye on that during the course of the webinar and we'll endeavour to answer as many of those questions as we can.
The webinar, as I say, will run for 60 minutes. There will be plenty of opportunity for us to review your comments and we'll engage you as best we can in this series of activities as we go along. So Kate, could I hand over to you?
KATE MORRIS: Thank you, Ian, and thank you for joining us for the webinar today Leading Remotely. It's a new way of being, a new way of doing, and it's presenting great challenge and great opportunity for our schools.
So we're traversing new territory together and finding new ways of working and being and connecting here today at this professional learning session is one of those. So by being here, you're investing in yourself and your community.
And with that, I would like to introduce our colleagues on the screen with us today. We have Damien Keel, from Yarrawonga Secondary College ‑ Yarrawonga P‑12, let me correct myself ‑ a multi‑campus school, three campuses, and delighted to have Damien working with us. Jillian English is with us also. She is from Strathmore Secondary College and will be providing insights around their experiences around leading remotely as you stimulate discussion, and we have our expert Ian presenting both the research and practical tips and tricks and tools for us to think about how we can better manage the ever changing territory that we're working within.
More broadly, we have our colleagues from Bastow with us. We've got Maria Oddo and Irene Iliadis, who are past principals and who will be coordinating the chat with us today, thank you to them, and also Peter Hough, Lova and Jyldyz, who are our technical supports.
A couple of people have noted that the screen may be a little blurry and we are doing some work on that right here right now.
Before I hand over David Howes, I'd like to do an acknowledgment of country. I'm on the land of the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation. I'm speaking to you from St Kilda today. I'd like to welcome you and the many lands on which we are meeting on and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. I'd also like to extend that respect to any Aboriginal members of the Department of Education who are with us this morning. I'd also like to acknowledge that we have our colleagues from regional office, central office and also a whole range of schools that really represents the strength of our system.
I'd like to hand over to David Howes now, who's the Deputy Secretary of Schools and Regional Services, for him to speak to you.
DAVID HOWES: Well, hello, everyone, and welcome to this that is actually the third in a series that Bastow are hosting with Genos International. They're all helping us learn something about how to manage ourselves in this very different and very complex environment that we're in.
Can I begin by acknowledging that we are meeting on many lands of traditional owners from right across Victoria. Can I pay my respects and collectively on your behalf pay our collective respects to owners past, present and emerging, to Aboriginal people who are joining us here today, and acknowledge their custodianship of the land.
As I said, this is the third in a series that started with a seminar that looked at how to build our own psychological wellbeing, how to manage our psychological health in these strange, complex and unanticipated circumstances in which we find ourselves. That was followed up by a second session on looking at how do we continue to deliver what we're engaged to do when we're working remotely and when we're juggling a lot of competing domestic and professional responsibilities from the same place, our homes or our places of residence.
This third one is designed specifically for people who have a leadership responsibility and that can be from leading a small team to leading a very, very large school because no matter the size of the leadership responsibility that we have, many of the challenges are going to be the same and I think it's something that all of us who have some role of leadership have particularly found interesting and probably also challenging that a lot of the ways in which we're accustomed to working, a lot of the ways in which we're accustomed to being with our teams, of being able to have a quick chat, being able to have those incidental discussions, they're not available to us in this environment and so all the experience that we've had of how we build culture, how we check in on people's wellbeing, how we provide a bit of advice or direction if we think that will be useful, how we're able to respond to questions and issues, these are all very, very different. So what Bastow have done, and I really appreciate the initiative that Kate Morris, Acting CEO, has taken in establishing the partnership with the people who know this best, Genos International, who are going to share their expertise about what it means to lead remotely.
So I won't take up any more time now. I'm going to be very interested in the session that follows and I'm sure that you will ...
IAN HAMILTON: (No sound for around five minutes) ... important aspects of ourselves. It influences the quality of the decisions we make, it influences the day‑to‑day, hour‑to‑hour, minute‑to‑minute behaviours that we demonstrate, and ultimately it influences our productivity. And so we know that where people feel more productive than unproductive emotions then productivity is likely to be higher and as leaders then we've got a great opportunity to spend time engaging with people, trying to understand their unique environments, what are the emotions that they're experiencing and trying as best we can to create an environment where they experience more of those pleasant emotions and less of those unproductive emotions.
But of course, in the environment we're working in this is an immensely challenging thing to do and why is that? Well, if you think about the environments we're working in and the change that we've experienced since the start of this pandemic in January, almost all of us will have experienced degrees of change. Some of it in the school environment has been rapid, almost overnight, having to think about different ways of teaching.
Increasingly, we're seeing through the news and through the media and if you've watched programs like Q&A in the week there's this uncertainty. State by state, school by school, team by team there's a sense of we're not quite sure what next week, next month, the next six months is going to look like, so there's a lot of uncertainty, and also for a lot of us there will be this sense of I've lost control over the very things that I used to have control over. And if you listened to Dr Ben Palmer's webinar around boosting your welfare, you would have heard him use that really simple example about panic buying as a very simple way in which people react quite rapidly to a loss of control.
So as a leader, it's really important to understand that below the surface that's not always obviously apparent people may well be feeling ‑ and this is just an example, this isn't what actually might be happening but it's to give you some thinking around this, there will be people in your teams who are probably experiencing levels of uncertainty over different issues and where that occurs, and I'll expand more on this in a model later ‑ people can have the tendency to make assumptions. The brain likes to make assumptions when there is a gap in certainty.
Equally, when people are feeling stressed, and you may well be able to take yourself back to a time recently where you've felt like this, some of the behaviours that you may well have demonstrated may well have been slightly different to normal. I'm using the word "aggressive" there as an extreme form, but you may have reacted quite quickly to something where perhaps you wouldn't. So when we're feeling stressed, we behave in uncharacteristic ways.
When people are feeling anxious, there's often a tendency for people to jump quite quickly and be reactive rather than pause and think. When people are worried, what you tend to find is that they start to look at the problems rather than solutions, and you may well have experienced this even in conversations within your own house. Feelings like worry can create a focus around the problem rather than the solution.
And finally, when people are fearful, they often apportion blame, and the best example I think to look at that is look at some of our global leaders, without being specific, and how they're using the concerns that they may have around the deficiencies in their own leadership to apportion blame around the world. So thinking about your team, there's a great opportunity to try and lift the lid off what are some of the emotions that my team members may well be experiencing and what are the more obvious behaviours that I may be noticing that could be a product of those.
Now, again, if you think about the neuroscience of emotions, we all like to work in worlds where we feel more productive emotions. I mean, who doesn't like receiving timely, relevant feedback? Who doesn't like to sit with a colleague and have a very powerful conversation that's based around a difficult issue where you get good outcomes from it?
And so part of the content of today's webinar is to encourage you to think about are you having those conversations and are you being agile around people, are you opening up lines of communication with people to try to hopefully create for them a greater sense of purpose. That might just be short‑term goals that need to be achieved this week or next week and that can help people engage with each other.
A really good example was in the Genos team we've been delivering these webinars now for two or three weeks. It's given us a great sense of purpose. It's given us the opportunity to engage with people like Kate and Damien and Jillian, it's given us the opportunity to talk to other clients. It focuses the mind, it energises, it's a really great thing to have in your calendar because you know you're doing great, meaningful work.
Equally, when people feel valued, they are likely to care for others in a similar way. So conversations with people about the importance of their work, how we feel about their work, how well they're doing in their work can give that sense of care which can be very infectious.
Also, when people feel informed, they're likely to become more solution focused. Now, we don't have all the answers, but there might be some bits of information that we're holding back or some small things that we could offer people that could help to give a greater sense of control.
And finally we know when people feel empowered, when we're giving them the sense to run freely with things, they're likely to be more innovative.
So that's a grounding to sit alongside David's internal positioning around why leading a remote team is so important to think about because it may well require from you some adaptions to what you do and some agility in your own leadership.
I've been talking for a while already and I'd love to hand over to Damien and Jillian. Damien, I might start with you. Are you noticing anything come through early in the chat that you'd like to share with us?
DAMIEN KEEL: Yeah, thanks, Ian. There's a nice comment there from Sonia talking about how much access people have to her and she's finding that that's really changing the way that she's working because she's more accessible to everybody, which is a really valid point I think.
And Neil makes a very valid comment there around the rule book going out the window and I think there's starting to be some reference to agile leadership being made on the chat line now which is something that's quite current and if you listen to Simon Breakspear, he talks about agile leadership and I think that's what we've really had to be in the last six to eight weeks is very agile in our approach. So some great comments coming through, including some analogies to footy there about the third quarter.
IAN HAMILTON: Yeah, absolutely, yeah. So when we ran these webinars two or three weeks ago, we were talking about the sudden change and I think I was talking to Jillian earlier about the fact probably, thinking about the change curve, we've gone over the peak but now we're in that long haul where you've got fatigue, exhaustion. Even David in his webinar speaks about, you know, spending the day working virtually is exhausting and I can only imagine how challenging that would be as a teacher, where you're not just communicating to one or two people, but you've got a lot of people that you're connecting with and maybe it's also the parents that you're connecting to outside of normal teaching hours.
So agility is a very, very broadly used word in leadership. I'd like to think of it in this sense, in today's webinar, as the flexibility you might need to show in terms of doing things differently. You know, when people normally know where to find you, that's great, but at the moment people are going to find you in very different ways and that's certainly, I think, something to think about as we go throughout the webinar.
So we'd like to hear from you now in terms of what are the big challenges that you're facing in leading your remote team and I'm going to put a little poll together and give you the opportunity to do some voting. So we're going to put up some common challenges around leading a remote team. What I'd like you to do is vote on how many of these are relevant for you at the moment and once you've done that, we'll publish the results and I'll bring Jillian and Damien back in to give me some principal context around it, a context from people who've actually worked in the roles that you're working in. So let's launch that poll.
So what I'd like you to do is just annotate any of these that are a challenge for you at the moment. So if I could have a thumbs up from any of the team that they can see the poll. There may be a slight delay. Okay, good, I can see people are voting already, fantastic. What's really interesting is depending on the time of day you run the webinar depends how quickly the poll appears, so it's yet another challenge that we face.
So just vote on as many that are relevant for you and once we've run that for two or three minutes and I've got a good percentage, then I'll publish the results and hand over to Jillian and Damien to see what context and comments they might want to overlay on top of those. So I can see over 100 of you have voted already, thank you very much.
The beauty of this poll, of course, is this isn't research that you can just pull off the internet. This is very much point in time, specific feedback that you're giving us about how you are experiencing leading a remote team right at this moment, and of course this isn't a complete list, this is really just a thought‑provoking list I've generated for you.
Okay, so we've got over 75%. So I'm just going to run that for another 30 seconds just to see if anyone else would like to vote before I close the poll. Fantastic. Oh, so we're over 80%, that's fantastic. Thank you for interacting with us. This is such rich feedback that really brings webinars like this alive because it's very much about what you're experiencing right now today.
Okay, let me ‑ apologies if you didn't quite get the chance to vote, but I do need to keep the pace moving, so let me end that poll and share the results. And again, if the team could give me a thumbs up when you can see the results. Wonderful, yeah, great. Okay, fantastic.
So what you hopefully can see on your screen is the results from over 80% of you have voted on that list of leadership challenges when leading a remote team and I would be keen to hand over to Damien and Jillian again just to see if you'd like to overlay your own commentary on top of that. I certainly can see a few things that are really catching my eye, but how about from the team?
JILLIAN ENGLISH: I'd like to make comments, Ian. Firstly, it's fabulous to see so many different levels of leadership represented in our webinar and even somebody from New South Wales, so welcome.
Supporting team members' health and welfare is the area that is coming up with 60% of people saying that's a challenge and I would agree with that and I think also just thinking about how can we communicate effectively. And one of the people on our webinar, Amy, mentioned that she sets up processes and procedures to check in with staff at the beginning of a lesson just to check in, I would imagine, on their wellbeing and how they're going. So it will be different for different schools, but I think that's key, setting up structures and procedures so that we can keep a check and make sure that our staff are well in this context.
IAN HAMILTON: Fantastic. Thanks very much. Actually, I can see there supporting team member health and welfare certainly coming out significantly on top of that list. Damien, is there anything you'd like to add from the results there before I move on?
DAMIEN KEEL: Thanks, Ian. I think I'd just like to follow up on what Kate said there and there's a couple of nice comments from principals coming through around how they're supporting their staff and making sure that they realise they are appreciated. Jodie Matthews made a comment there about a gift hamper from a local business with berries being delivered to all their members. Donna made a comment there around a silly dress‑up Friday trying to keep some sort of humour around the place to make things a little bit fun in some challenging times. So there's some great comments, yeah.
IAN HAMILTON: Yeah, fantastic. Thank you very much. Well, I'm going to stop sharing that poll, but just before I do, you can see there there's quite an even split over the remainder. So just getting stuff done is coming out as number 2, and then we're looking at maintaining morale coming out at number 3, communicating across a group as opposed to communicating at an individual level, and that again requires a lot of thought around how are we going to do it, when are we going to do it, all these sort of things that we're going to talk about in the course of this webinar. So thank you very much for that voting and let me continue.
So what you will have noticed in that list, and by no means was that a definitive list. I'm really trying to get some ‑ it's meant to be thought provoking, but there's two distinct challenges that leaders face at the moment. Clearly, there's the operational imperative to deliver outcomes and those outcomes are educational outcomes, learning outcomes, amongst the many other things that school leaders will need to deliver, whether you're leading a teaching team or a support team.
But also the other challenge we're facing is the normal ways we do this, the how of leadership, those well‑established routines and rituals that we've developed ‑ when we have team meetings, how accessible we make ourselves, when people know they can and can't contact us ‑ have all been disrupted and so the how we get this done for many of us has been very much a process of learning through discovery over the last few weeks. And I think this is the key aspect of this webinar, how might I need to adapt my leadership to deliver the things that I still need to deliver. So the what probably hasn't changed a great deal, apart from virtual, but the how I do it is probably quite significantly different and that's something I'd like us to keep in the front of our minds as we go throughout the webinar because it's those leaders who display the most agility, the most flexibility, the most creativity who are probably the ones who are going to get the best outcomes over the next few weeks and months.
So let's start with a model and in building this webinar, we thought it might be really useful to revisit an old model and one of the most classic, powerful models that there is around understanding the way that people fill gaps in information through making assumptions is the ladder of inference and the ladder of inference was a model developed by Harvard Business School Professor Chris Argyris, and it's a Greek name and I've probably pronounced that really badly, so I'm sorry if I have. But he developed that model over 50 years ago to help us understand the way the brain can very, very rapidly look at information and he called it the pool of data or the sea of data, and if you think about the development of this model 50 years ago, this was pre internet, pre mobile phones, pre virtual platforms.
What he said was the brain is really, really good, we as individuals are really, really good at making observations about a vast amount of data and selecting things that are important and relevant to us. And if you think about your inbox on a daily basis, you do this multiple times a day ‑ you scan your emails, you see a lot come in and you will zoom in on ones that are particularly relevant to perhaps something you're working on or a person you're communicating with. And so what he said was, quite rightly and very effectively, we observe information around us, we make quick, rapid selections about the data that we want to look at more deeply, and we overlay on top of that meaning because almost everything we look at is connected to something else.
The way the model is really helpful and really powerful is what comes next because without often being conscious about it we can very quickly overlay our own assumptions on what that means, we can rapidly draw conclusions and before we know it, he talks about being at the top of the ladder where we've formed a view on something and may even well have chosen to take action. And these ladders can be climbed in fractions of a second and they typically are climbed where there is a gap in knowledge or a gap in information or a lot of uncertainty.
The other thing that's really powerful about the ladder is that once we've climbed our ladder, we've formed a view on something, and that view could be about when we might be returning to face‑to‑face teaching or whether there will be exams at the normal time during this year, all of these things that we don't quite know that we're making our own assumptions around, Chris Argyris said that the brain also filters out things that contradict and filters in things that substantiate and so we have this little loop that occurs where we actively look for things that substantiate our views and beliefs and filter out things that don't.
So I thought by sharing that model today, that might be really helpful as a leader to try to get a sense of where some people may start to have formed assumptions and formed beliefs and how there's a great opportunity for leaders of people to get into the ladder at that assumptions phase and start offering up alternatives or coaching or exploring different people's thinking.
So what ladders have you noticed people climb in your school team? So over to the chat box again, we'd love to hear from you, and how have you managed those? So Damien and Jillian, if you've got any ladder stories coming through, I think this would be a great opportunity to share them. Anything at all that's coming through would be good because ladders can be small, they can be big, they can take a long time to climb or they can be climbed in a fraction of a second.
DAMIEN KEEL: Yeah, thanks, Ian. I think at Yarrawonga College we've seen a lot of our staff trying to make assumptions around what decisions are going to be made next and just looking at the political landscape and obviously also the parents that are probably struggling at the moment with a number of kids at home, people are wondering when we're going back and probably getting a little bit stressed when they don't need to because that decision is out of our control, so try to follow the people above us and wait for direction. I think that's the main one.
IAN HAMILTON: Fantastic, and it's where there is gaps in information that people fill in really quickly. I know my own daughter, who's in year 12, has been for some time talking about year 13 and I wasn't sure where that came from and it was a ladder obviously that she climbed through conversations she'd heard with other people.
Jillian, have you seen anything come through you'd like to share with us about the leadership challenge around ladders?
JILLIAN ENGLISH: Yes, Ian. Look, there's some absolutely great suggestions coming through in terms of a number of leaders just setting up structures and procedures to assist those staff that are climbing ladders perhaps when it's not necessary at this point, when they don't have the information. So Colin has shared some wonderful examples of how he's setting up structures in his school to ensure that there is check‑in procedures and also lots of fun with staff as well.
IAN HAMILTON: Fantastic. And I think, yes, checking in with people can avoid them climbing ‑ rapidly escalating up ladders. You know, little conversations, offering updates where they're possible, not holding on to information too long, giving certainty where that can be is a great way to avoid some of the assumptions that we can all make really, really quickly and in fact even I've been in organisations where they've just put ladders on meeting room walls ‑ you could do this virtually ‑ just to encourage people too and let's think about how we can encourage people to do this, recognise that it's a fact of life that we're all going to climb ladders and we can climb them in fractions of a second in some cases.
The other thing, of course, is to explore if you believe someone has made some assumptions and formed a view that differs to yours their thinking and assumptions and this is a great opportunity for leaders to enter into those great powerful coaching‑style conversations where you can take somebody back a few rungs and explore the assumptions they made and encourage them to look at alternatives. That's a great problem‑solving technique.
The other thing, of course, is that there may well be ladders we've climbed where we haven't necessarily shared our assumptions and thinking. So it's a great opportunity to also role model this in conversations with other people, some planning that we may have made on the basis of assumptions that we've made as well explaining and making your thinking really visible to other people.
When we're communicating with people where there's a misunderstanding, maybe it's because of a ladder that's been climbed, a great opportunity is to listen and encourage questioning around the things that we don't fully understand. And equally, as I've said already, I think there's a great opportunity for anyone who leads a team, it doesn't matter how big, to really start to work on our coaching approach to conversations. This is so important working virtually because so many things can't be read in body language and it does give us a great chance to actually coach, listen, present ways for people to think differently.
And finally, wherever there's an opportunity to offer clarity and certainty, that's a very powerful thing to do and certainly prevents people climbing ladders too quickly or climbing the wrong ladders.
So hopefully the ladder of inference is a good reminder. It's been around a long time. There's a plethora of ways you can use it. There's some great research on the internet and also really good tools to share with your teams, very good tools to create conversation amongst a group. Okay.
Let me change direction. So when you lead a remote team, there will be a lot of different personalities in that team and I'm sure many of you over your career will have been through workshops where you will have explored the type of preferences that you and others exhibit every day when you come to work, those preferences that were developed in our early formative years that have been shaped over years of work experience and are now the ways that we like to get things done.
And if you look at these tools, most of them are based around two fundamental needs and these needs are really quite simple and they can be broken down into the level of control that we desire in the workplace, how much control we like to have around the things that we do, and the need that we feel to affiliate ourselves with other people. How important is it for me every day to be working with others, to collaborate with other people?
Now, the fact is we both ‑ we all need control and we all need to want to affiliate with people, but we have varying degrees of preference around this, and so when you're leading a remote team, I think there's a great opportunity to refresh about who are the different personalities that make up the unique diversity within my team and then how can I use that to get the best out of people.
So what I'd like you to do now is grab a pen and paper. This is a little exercise. What I want you to do, and I really am going to slow down my delivery of this part just slightly ‑ what I want you to do is just pause for a moment and think about somebody in your direct team, one of your direct reports, somebody you work with closely who brings and exhibits a different style to you on a daily basis, who typically looks at problems differently, who perhaps brings a different level of energy and urgency to things to you and I just want you to hold that person in your mind for about 10 or 15 seconds, to just think about them, think about your last interaction with them, think about the last exchange in information you had with them.
So now you've got that person in your mind, what I'd like you to do is think about the first of those two needs. Thinking about this person, the experience you've had working with them, how much control do you think they would like around the work that they do in your school, in your workplace? If it's a high need for control person ‑ this is something ‑ when I say "control", they like to be empowered, they like to run with ideas, they like to be given a lot of autonomy, they generally are quite fast in what they do, they get frustrated if they perceive things as slowing them down. Or is this somebody who has a lower need for control, happy to play more of a supporting role, a little bit more cautious, takes their time, perhaps a little bit more methodical in their approach, may not necessarily want so much autonomy, may want to work with a little bit more guidance from you. And what I want you to do is think about 10 coins or 10 marbles that you've got in your hand and how you might want to allocate those across this vertical axis.
Now, because we all exhibit need for control, what you can't do is go 10/0 and what you can't do also is 5/5 because a lot of these tools won't allow you to sit on the fence, so I want you to allocate where those 10 marbles sit across that vertical axis. So if this person you think has got a very high need for control, you might want to go 9/1, 8/2 or 7/3, depending on that level of preference. If they've got a lower need for control, you may want to place the majority of those coins or marbles below the horizontal axis and it might be 6/4, 7/3, 8/1.
So place a couple of markers on that axis depending on where you see that person's need for control. What brings out the best in them, what really energises them and what frustrates them, that's another way of looking at it. And the best way to do this is to take yourself back to a time when you were working with them.
So once you've put those two markers on that line, and those two numbers should add up to 10, what I'd like you to do is change your focus to this person's need for affiliation. By affiliation, I mean how much connection do they want with other people? Is this the sort of person that always wants to collaborate, likes to set up meetings, progress check‑ins, rings you regularly just to give you little updates, likes to get a sense of working together on things, or is this somebody who you might not hear from for large chunks of the day ‑ that doesn't mean to say they're not working, but they've got a lower need to connect. They may well see less need for meetings, for example, or they want to keep meetings a bit shorter.
Once again, thinking about this person's need for affiliation or to be with people, I'd like you to allocate the same or a different set of 10 coins or marbles across the horizontal axis. If you see this person as a high need for affiliation, you might be allocating 8 or 9 points on the right‑hand side and 1 or 2 on the left, or conversely, if you see them as a lower need for affiliation, you might be allocating 8, 9, 7 points on the left‑hand side and the corresponding number on the right‑hand side. And the best way to do this is take yourself back to a time when you were working with this person.
So you should now have four crosses and what you can do is join them up, and by joining them up, what we get to see is a very basic but probably quite accurate representation of this person's workplace preferences. So in this example you can see that the biggest area is somebody here who I have determined has got a high need for control, but a slightly lower need for affiliation. That's not to say they don't want to affiliate with people, but they've got a lower need for it than others that I may work with in the workplace.
And this is a little opportunity for you to start reflecting on who's in my team, what is the richness and the diversity of the people I've got in my team and how I might be able to use my understanding of these basic needs to really lead them in a way that brings out the best in them.
And so once you've got your box drawn, what we can then do is look at the characteristics of these four styles. Before I do that, though, I might just hand over to Damien and Jillian just to see if you've got any comments coming through here about style and need of the team members that people on the webinar are reflecting upon.
DAMIEN KEEL: Thanks, Ian. There's a couple of great comments coming through already. I think Irene kind of nails this difficulty ‑ oh, well, challenge that we have around not assuming that others have the same needs as you.
IAN HAMILTON: Yes.
DAMIEN KEEL: I think it's really difficult to identify those needs when we're not touching base with people personally and sometimes it's difficult to read body language.
Marty and Angela also have great points here that principals and teachers often have high needs for control. But then Sarah makes a really nice comment about her class and being really flexible in the way that they're supporting people. So great comments.
IAN HAMILTON: Fantastic comments, yeah. And as I said at the outset of this webinar this isn't about defining people, pigeonholing people. What I'm trying to do is give you an opportunity to think about the agility I might need to display when working with different members of my team who have different preferences around how they like to get things done and of course it's about trying to make people as productive as we can in a very unique working from home environment that many people are in at the moment.
So what are the styles that we see? Well, I've put a few words up here and these are very positive framed words. It's all about trying to create environments for people to experience the things they like. What do we notice about high need for control, low need for affiliation? Well, we often see a lot of confidence around what needs to be done, a real sense of urgency. They love tasks and a clear focus about what needs to be done. They're going to be very practical and it's going to be fast paced work. And of course if that's not our style, can you see how those two might create a little bit of friction and that's certainly something that will be great to have conversations around if that's not our style but we're leading somebody with that style.
Moving across to the right, high need for affiliation and high need for control, a lot of similarities but some differences and the differences are bringing people with them more obviously on that journey. So they're going to be very enthusiastic and they're going to want to connect and collaborate and be very people orientated in the work that they do. They're probably going to be more animated, express emotions more freely and openly and probably quite talkative. You'll see this in meetings, when they get excited and the suggestions they make around how things might get done in a collaborative way.
Moving then to the other two styles, so bottom right‑hand corner, low need for control, high need for affiliation. So you'll see here people are likely to be a little bit more reserved and supportive, thinking about building procedures. They're probably going to be very methodical, think things through very carefully, will want a sense of connecting as well and the sense of, you know, am I being helpful, am I supporting, am I seen as someone who's dependable, because that's what really brings out the best in me. I want to be seen as someone who's very supportive in what I do.
And then finally low need for control, lower need for affiliation, we've got here the people who are going to be very accurate, they're going to be very cautious and possibly they're going to be the people who really dot the i's and cross the t's in a way that's so important. You may not hear from these people very much, but it doesn't mean they don't want to connect with you, but it's their style, it's what is their preference.
So we've got the opportunity then to think about taking a needs‑based approach to the members in our team and as I go through each of these, I might hand over to Damien and Jillian to see if you've got any particular comments coming through for each of the styles. So high need for control, low need for affiliation, unlikely to respond to the following things: directness from our leadership, clarity, fast decision making and a real sense of progress in their work.
Can I hand over to you, Jillian, to see if you've got any comments coming through about this type of style?
JILLIAN ENGLISH: Yes, look, I'm really interested in the comments being made by Tanya and Donna. They've really focused on that needs‑based approach to leadership and really understanding the team and what the team needs to provide the support that's required.
IAN HAMILTON: Thank you. And another way of looking at this is if you say well, if there is an absence of this in my leadership, what might that create? So if somebody who exhibits this preference is seeing things move too slowly, is not given enough autonomy, you can very quickly see how that could create some challenges for this type of style.
So hopefully some thought‑provoking ideas around that style.
High need for affiliation, high need for control ‑ as I said earlier, similar but different. They're going to want to see more collaboration, an opportunity to express how they feel more often more regularly and are going to expect from you opportunities to collaborate with others on team‑based work. Damien, I might hand over to you this time. Any comments coming through on that style? There's overlap, but difference.
DAMIEN KEEL: Yeah, so just a comment made by Nadia Walker, "I'm currently reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" ‑ definitely personality ‑‑
IAN HAMILTON: Yeah, who is the author again there?
DAMIEN KEEL: Nadia Walker, which I think is a great comment. Being a bit of an introvert myself, it kind of rings true.
IAN HAMILTON: Yes, fantastic. So again, subtle differences here and if we flip these around the other way, what might happen when somebody brings this style to your team but they're not experiencing enough collaborative work, they perceive there aren't enough meetings, there aren't enough opportunities to explore ideas? You can see how it works.
Let's move then to low need for control, high need for affiliation, would see great opportunity in being collaborative, would prefer a slightly slower pace ‑ that's not good or bad, it's just the way they work and for good reasons, thoroughness and getting things done to a high degree of rigger ‑ will benefit from you from lots of feedback, and feedback is important because it's about giving assurances that we're making the contribution. I say that because it's just a style where I come from. Love to support other people. So thinking about needs‑based work, how can I connect somebody in this area to someone who perhaps needs support? They revel in close, deep‑based working relationships. They like to really form strong, deep‑lasting relationships and your support, reassurance and guidance would be something they would respond to very, very strongly.
Jillian, how about ‑ over to you this time. Any comments coming through on this particular style?
JILLIAN ENGLISH: Thanks, Ian. I'm really interested in Ruth's comment, which is getting her staff ‑ interested in getting her staff to do this poll with the question "Which set of words best describe you?" I think that could be a brilliant suggestion.
IAN HAMILTON: Absolutely. You know, in these times we don't have the luxury of putting people through a half‑day workshop, but what we can do is get people to reflect on what are the unique characteristics in my style. I think it's a very ‑ look, it's unscientific but it's actually very accurate, so it's a way of helping people understand what are my needs, how does that differ to perhaps you and other people in your team. Thank you very much.
And then finally, low need for control and a lower need to be with people, again an equally powerful, important style that people bring to a team. What will they expect, and I'll come back to some things Jillian has mentioned earlier, procedures ‑ they're going to revel in a leader who's actually thinking about building procedures and ways of working in this new environment. They're going to expect structure. They're probably going to work best if they have limited distractions. So a day where they open their calendar and see multiple meetings may not work so well for this group of people. That's not to say they won't bring 100% focus to the meeting, but it might not be their preferred or ideal day. They're going to want clarity because it's about accuracy, they're going to want to see logic and critical thinking and evidence behind the decisions that are made.
And Damien, finally, I might just go over to you for this last one. Any comments coming through around this particular style?
DAMIEN KEEL: There's a few questions starting to surface, Ian, just around how do I find out what quadrant I fit in or what sort of personality type I am? Maybe you could suggest more than me, being an expert in the field, but perhaps Myers‑Briggs could be a good start for people.
IAN HAMILTON: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we're really here talking about self‑awareness, aren't we, and talking about the ability to be able to understand what brings out the best in all of us and I think even going back to the slide I showed earlier, which is in the handout, and thinking about yourself and allocating those 10 points across both axes would be a good start point.
The other great way is to ask others, seek feedback from other people, you know, your own manager and colleagues and ask them, "When do you think I work at my best, what energises me?", and there's a great opportunity there to do that too.
If you do have a profile that's been generated on you sitting on a bookshelf, and I think most of us have probably got one or two sitting there ‑ it could be a Myers‑Briggs or a DISC or something else ‑ what a great time to dust it off, go back to those results, have a look at what they said and what we said about ourselves could be a very, very useful time to reflect on our leadership style and how that might need to be adapted.
So Damien, I think that's probably the best way. We've got some resources around this. So if you've got that person's name, certainly direct them to us and we can offer them some other information around this particular sort of means‑based approach.
So in summary, where is this taking us? Well, what I'm really suggesting is that the diversity of style that people have in a team is a fantastic asset to any team. There's no better or worse style. But what you might want to be thinking about at this point in time is who have I got in my team, am I thinking about providing needs‑based work to the unique people in my team, so if I have somebody who revels in playing a supportive role, who likes to be someone who holds things together, am I giving them the opportunities to be at their best and do that? If I've got someone who is naturally fast paced who likes to crack on and get things done, am I empowering them sufficiently with the right type of work to bring out the best in them?
And then finally, on a person‑by‑person basis, you have a unique opportunity to think about some small things you could do differently with each person and checking in with them and being very quite open with them about, "What can I do to best meet your needs, how can I best create an environment for you to be at your best in this environment?", so taking a very personal, I guess, approach.
So just before I move on, Damien, are there any last comments you'd like to share before I move into the last section of the webinar?
DAMIEN KEEL: I think we've just about covered it, Ian, but as you were saying there, a lot of people are trying to work out what types of people they're working with and making sure they're being considerate, so not just Friday afternoon drinks but making sure that ‑ because that can be seen as another level of work having to be on a screen. So people are actually considering that carefully.
IAN HAMILTON: Yes, and who might think that Friday afternoon drinks is another level of work? People with a low need for affiliation. It's a good example there. "Yet another meeting" they might be saying. Whereas someone with a high need for affiliation might be saying, "We should do more of these, we should have coffee meetings as well." So this is a really big challenge and it's about just working through thinking about people more so than ever because we can't see the body language and checking in with them on that basis.
So the third part of my webinar this morning is very much an overlay on the working from home webinars that we've been running and will run again this week and to give you as a leader now the opportunity to think about how do I support someone ‑ this is the how again ‑ to be productive in their working from home environment? So what I'd like you to do now is thinking about the challenge of leading a remote team, what are some of the things that you've been supporting your team overcome, and please feel free to type these into the chat box, some of the conversations you've been having with team members around their working from home challenges, WFH, this new three‑letter abbreviation that we've become used to. And I'm going to just hand over to Damien and Jillian in a moment to see what we're noticing come through ‑ what are the challenges you've been supporting your team overcome? This is what have you been coaching them around that you have to share. Damien, have you seen any comments come through?
JILLIAN ENGLISH: Would you like me to comment, Ian?
IAN HAMILTON: Absolutely, Jillian, if you've got something there. So, you know, from the group on the webinar, what are the challenges they're facing in managing their remote team?
JILLIAN ENGLISH: Lots to do with communication, lots to do with juggling workloads, lots to do with confidence in technology, and so I guess it highlights for us as leaders the importance of distributing our leadership, giving other leaders in the school the opportunity to lead different teams so we can meet our staff needs, and also really ensuring we've got effective communication and clarity around roles.
IAN HAMILTON: Yeah, fantastic, and not surprisingly there you're summarising the many challenges that we are all facing when leading remote teams. And of course there's been a fair amount of research conducted on this pre pandemic and in the working from home webinar I identified the top five, which I'll share with you now, and we go into more detail about some of the things we can do at an individual level to manage them, but of course a leader has a great opportunity to coach and role model people around managing their unique working from home environment. And of course we all have different environments. We can be living in an apartment or a big house, we might be sharing that with nobody or lots of people.
So let's have a look at the top five to give us some thoughts around where our conversations might need to be focused. From research conducted late last year, one of the big ones was when people work from home, they experience challenges around unplugging. What do we mean by that? Well, essentially work and life outside of work start to merge together. When you leave the school or you leave your workplace, there's this really neat separation. I think a lot of us feel that we've actually taken a different section and so when we walk through the front door, we engage with people outside of work. But when your laptop or your computer is ever present, when the paperwork you're working on is always around you, people who work from home talk about the fact that "I never feel I really properly disconnect or unplug" and that can be challenging.
Number 2, in a workplace in an office many of the distractions we've managed around we've got rid of, but in a home working environment these are new challenges we're facing for the first time. It could be realising that actually the road that I live on is really quite noisy during the day and doesn't allow me to do the things I can do in the office as effectively. It could be that your neighbour is really noisy. It could be that your kids that you're home schooling who are sharing the house with you are creating a lot of distractions and noise. There are many, many things that are different in the home than the office.
It's a well‑known phenomena that when you work from home you're having to be, to a large degree, self‑directed and self‑motivated and to varying degrees we are good and bad at that. Some of us can get really focused in for long periods of time and others of us find it's quite difficult and really need lots of breaks, but I think staying motivated and certainly for us it's the long haul not the short haul. I think Damien mentioned earlier it's the third quarter, not the first quarter. We've got to really think about how on a daily basis am I going to maintain the level of productivity that I've taken for granted when working in an office‑based or school‑based environment.
The other one they identified was communication. When you're a leader and you can't look somebody in the eye and you can't read body language, you can't pick up on those subtle changes in someone's mood and demeanour, so we've got to work a lot, lot harder to communicate and to engage and collaborate with people and I think many people have been talking about the fatigue associated with that.
Then interestingly from the survey, and this has caused a lot of debate, loneliness. Many people report working from home is a fairly lonely existence. What we've also noticed through these webinars is that because many of us are working from home together, some of us have found quite the opposite, it's actually really quite collegiate, there's a lot going on, but that will depend on your own circumstances and of course not everybody is sharing their working from home environment with others.
Damien and Jillian, anything you're noticing coming through on these?
DAMIEN KEEL: Yes, so there's a lot, Ian, there's a lot of challenges out there. Parents are comparing schools one of the strings mentioned; balancing large numbers of staff on site; teachers having sometimes difficulty knowing their audience and pushing the appropriate level of work out to families; teachers having to be more available for parents; and that teachers can't switch off, which is one that we're certainly experiencing as well.
IAN HAMILTON: Yes, picking up on those last ‑ I mean, they're all relevant, but those last two, you know, communication with parents at hours that are outside what would be seen as normal working day and then the fatigue associated with being unable to switch off, you know, communicating.
My daughter, for example, showed me that she's been communicating text messaging with her teacher, which is wonderful, but I'm thinking when does the teacher get a break? You know, this is communication after dinner. This is a very, very long working day.
Okay, well, let's take a poll. So let's bring you back into this. I'd love to hear your experiences of coaching and supporting a remote team. So let's bring up the second poll for this webinar. What I'd like to do is hear from you in terms of which of these four challenges are you managing your team overcome, and I've removed loneliness from this one because that's a little bit harder to gauge. It comes under communication to a degree, but there's four here that have come from research. Which of these are relevant for you at the moment in terms of the conversations you're having with your team members? Kate or Damien ‑ okay, I can see the poll is working, that's great. There may be a slight delay. Just be patient if it hasn't arrived yet.
So 70% of you have voted. Thank you very much. It's just so helpful when you're giving us this feedback. I can't express how helpful it is. So up to over 80%. I'll just let that run for another 30 seconds to see if we can catch a few more. 85%. 15 seconds to go. If you just want to put your final vote in, you've got a chance. And I'll close the poll there.
So 86% of you had the chance to vote. Let me share those results. If you could give me a thumbs up, Kate or Damien, if you can see those. Wonderful, okay, great. So this is your experience as leaders helping your teams manage their working from home challenges. So let me hand over to the team, what are you noticing?
JILLIAN ENGLISH: I'm really interested to draw Michelle's comment out for the forum ‑ teachers feeling that they can't win, they're not able to please all the parents, and I think it's really important as leaders that we take that feedback on board and give people the opportunity to feel that it's okay to make mistakes, it's okay that we don't know everything at the moment, it's okay that we need to be adaptable, and I think that adaptability and agility, Ian, that you mentioned at the start of the webinar is really important in assisting staff particularly to unplug, which seems to be the greatest concern.
IAN HAMILTON: Yeah, absolutely. Damien, would you like to overlay any thoughts on that before I move on?
DAMIEN KEEL: No, I think Jillian has covered that pretty well.
IAN HAMILTON: Yeah, fantastic. What I'm finding interesting here is, you know, at the moment you're not seeing a great need to drive and get people motivated. Could that change over time? Potentially. You know, if we're in this for the long haul, it might be there's a novelty and an energy around getting these virtual delivery to students and connection with parents up and going at the moment, but of course that may change. So these are things to keep an eye on. But certainly unplugging from work, so many of us I think are working quite long hours at the moment because there's a really strong focus to get things up and running quickly and deliver and execute a good job. And the other big one coming through there communication, which is something obviously we've touched on during the course of this webinar.
So I'm going to stop sharing that poll. Let me just finally conclude the webinar by doing a very high‑level walk through some of the strategies that we're offering in our remote control webinar and if you're interested in going into these in more depth, there's a handout that goes with them, but better still if you can join us or if you've joined us already you'll see some of this is familiar.
So one of the things that we know can work really well to assist people unplug is to create boundaries and during the course of the working remotely webinar, we talked about as a leader helping your team members recognise what other distractions that I might need to create a boundary around. So even the concept of a boundary is quite powerful. The boundary might be where they work ‑ in the house, apartment; it might be the times they work; it might be times during the day when you should ideally not be contacting them because perhaps they're home schooling or doing other things. So it's about creating an opportunity to have a greater routine and a greater control around what I do. Conceptually the boundary can be small, it can be big. The example I always share is somebody said to me that they share their desk with somebody else and they put tape down the middle to delineate what's my side and the other person's side so we don't get our paperwork mixed up. That's a boundary ‑ a very practical, very good example of helping us unplug.
Another one, switching your phone to flight mode for the first two hours when you finish work so you can reconnect with your family and then switch it back on if you have to at a later stage.
Managing distractions was the other big one we talked about in this webinar. Number one, you've got to identify what they are to begin with. Is it the temperature in the room that you're working in, is it the noise, is it the number of meetings you have to go to? These are great things to start conversing with your team around and then coaching them to manage better. Coaching your team to set boundaries and checking in with them on the progress that they're making and if they're not working well, have another approach.
umber three, keeping your team motivated. Well, this came down fairly low in the order at this stage, but it certainly could pop up again I think for many of us if we find that we're working like this for several more weeks and months to come. So we all love routine and we have established routines in our normal working day. These routines have been turned upside‑down, so I think there's a huge opportunity to have conversations with your team about what does your new routine look like and we've heard great examples of people saying, "I still make lunch in the morning and I still take a lunch break, but I do it in the garden"; "My new routine is to replace my commute with a walk or exercise", "My new routine is to reward myself with small breaks when I've achieved significant pieces of work", and having conversations with people about routine is very, very powerful for productivity.
Number two, and this is touching on the wellbeing webinar that was presented by Ben Palmer last week and again this week, role modelling proactive, resiliency‑based strategies. What do I mean by that? Well, Ben Palmer talks about things that are in the thinking category, you know, research, reading, breathing, mindfulness‑based approaches to try to keep ourselves engaged and motivated.
Relational based, thinking about connecting with others, virtual ‑ we've heard people talk about virtual Friday drinks, pizza evenings or just simply a buddy check‑in with someone who I really value and I like to be able to download with them.
Physiological strategies ‑ so many of us know that exercise is good for us. In fact, you know, it's so good for us it can actually set the day up for success, but how many of us have built that into our new routine? What am I talking about here? Walking, maybe 5 or 10 minutes of stretching or strengths‑based exercise at home. If you can't go to the gym anymore, have you replaced it with something equally as meaningful? So you could combine relationship and physiological by having a walking buddy, for example. So other great ways for you as a leader to be promoting and encouraging these wellbeing activities.
Finally, environmental, you know, encouraging people to think about their work environment. Is it as conducive as it can be for you to be at your best, and here we include things like your ergonomic set‑up, your posture, music and other things that may make the environment as productive as it can be for people.
Finally, communication. So we talk a little bit about structuring check‑ins, thinking about needs. Some people will want more or less than others. Bringing focus to your conversations ‑ we know that when working virtually, you've got to work a lot harder to really understand people and so bringing focus to everything we input into a conversation and listening intently is really important.
The example I give here is I've been in virtual meetings recently where it's apparent that people are not necessarily giving 100% focus because they're looking at emails or checking their phone. That can really lengthen a meeting and make it really hard to get focused in. So as a leader, are we promoting focus, encouraging people to switch off other devices at the start of meetings.
Removing distractions. You know, we can role model this too. If we're leading a virtual meeting, have we switched off our phones, have we turned off our email, are we encouraging others to do the same?
And then finally, whenever we communicate virtually, we've got to work a lot harder to be understood because you don't always get to see the subtleties of body language, which is so important in communication. And equally, are we listening with that great intent to understand, are we asking questions, are we exploring and clarifying?
So Damien and Jillian, anything else coming through there? I've been talking for a while there on those working from home strategies helping people be productive.
DAMIEN KEEL: There have been a few suggestions coming through, Ian.
IAN HAMILTON: Any that you'd like to summarise or share with us?
DAMIEN KEEL: One from the other day especially I was really interested in and that was online yoga. Not sure whether I'll participate in that one personally, but I'm sure that might fit someone's personality type. But there's also a really interesting comment made by Linda as to "Where is the off button for my 3‑year‑old?" I'm sure a lot of people are having difficulty managing that, trying to juggle principal leadership roles or other leadership roles with kids at home, so ‑‑
IAN HAMILTON: And I think ‑‑
DAMIEN KEEL: Mine are a lot older.
IAN HAMILTON: Oh, sorry. I was going to say there I think, you know, that is a classic example of an obvious distraction and there is a huge challenge but also an opportunity to think about what's the boundary. So yeah, this is what I mean, they can be small, they can be big. Jillian, do you have any before I move into the last part of it?
JILLIAN ENGLISH: I'm just blown away by the creative suggestions that are coming through and solutions. They are really high level and based a lot around how we set up effective communication strategies and how we can chunk the work for our staff members and how we can give them permission to unplug. So really, thank you for sharing, everyone.
IAN HAMILTON: Yeah, I think how powerful again, giving people permission to say it's okay to take some down time. I think it's really, really powerful because there's no doubt people are putting in very, very long hours at the moment.
So the key to this slide really is when you work with people face to face, we take a lot of this for granted and I guess my message here is the virtual world is a draining world and it drains more people than others, so we really need to think about maximising the productivity of meetings and role modelling some great behaviours when communicating virtually.
And then finally relationships. This sort of links into the loneliness category, but are there people in the team that you haven't heard from as much as you would have liked to have done, encouraging people to therefore identify what's their own need for social connection, asking people, "Are you getting enough communication from me or too much?" ‑ great conversation to have.
Look for ways to build virtual communities that are inclusive. By that I mean is this including everybody it needs to include? There might be some people that we might sometimes miss off these networks.
And finally, we should be actively encouraging those who like to create these to create them. It wouldn't be my first choice to create a virtual network, but I know other people would be very, very good at this and probably it's a great opportunity to delegate to them.
And finally, encouraging buddy check‑ins. Those people who like, you know, one‑to‑one meetings more than big groups, encourage them to have a learning buddy or a partner or somebody they're going to work with more closely over these next few months.
So, in summary, we started by looking at the neuroscience of emotions and what we identified was that unproductive emotions such as concern and uncertainty, exhaustion and fatigue can influence our wellbeing and therefore leaders have a great opportunity to try to ensure the scales are tipped in favour of people experiencing more productive than unproductive emotions on a daily basis through our leadership. The leaders who are almost certainly going to do this best are those who can adapt their leadership style to this really challenging and new environment that we find ourselves in and working from home is a uniquely challenging environment and leaders can definitely take a great powerful coaching‑based approach to help people maximise their productivity in these environments.
So finally, before I close off, are there any last thoughts that Kate, Damien or Jillian would like to overlay? Jillian, yes, thanks.
JILLIAN ENGLISH: I'd just like to go back to a comment that was made earlier in the chat, I think it was by Marty, who talked about how are we looking after ourselves as leaders and I think what's really vital is that we ensure we use the resources that are being put online by the department, we use our professional associations and our networks to ensure we look after our own wellbeing.
IAN HAMILTON: I think it's a great point, yes. So there is going to be a significant drain on anyone who leads others during the afternoon and we need to be looking after ourselves and role modelling that we're doing that, so letting people know when we are taking a break and when we shouldn't be contacted, absolutely. Damien, anything from you?
DAMIEN KEEL: Yeah, just in the words of a couple of the participants' chat comments, Mary made a comment about having done the groundwork on negative bias and the damage that negativity can have on a school community and I think that's a really important message around trying to have an appreciative approach, notwithstanding all of the really important work and trying to interpret messaging coming down from above us and how stressful that can be, but as a leader trying to remain positive.
And there was a great comment put up there as a way of demonstrating this from Michael Block at Kananook Primary School. Rosebud Primary School actually drove around the streets of Rosebud in a bus with the teachers with balloons out the windows saying hello to all their kids, which I thought was ‑‑
IAN HAMILTON: Unbelievable. Yes, absolutely fantastic. Great. Thank you for acknowledging that too. Kate, was there any last comment you wanted to make?
KATE MORRIS: Yes, Ian, really powerful to be able to sort of hear about schools' experiences, the challenges of leadership and the successes and sharing them. What resonates for me is how our school leaders at all levels are ensuring that their culture and the values of the school are living in the lounge rooms, in the houses, in the conversations every day that they're having with staff and with students, with the families, and a high level of responsiveness, that I'm noticing people really wanting to manage how reactive they are and I think as leaders, if we can do that, that sets ‑ it models, it sets great examples and it helps us feel the capability of the people around us. So it creates the conditions for success. So fantastic to be here learning with you and hearing voices, which is I think a point Ian raised really well, every voice needs to have a place.
IAN HAMILTON: Yeah, fantastic. And finally, I really encourage as I close the webinar take a couple of minutes before you throw yourself into the next challenge and think about what might be one or two things that have stood out for me from the webinar that could help me be a little bit more agile in how I'm leading my remote team.
So thank you very much. I wish you the best of luck. You're doing enormously important work. I think there's light on the horizon, but we're not quite sure how long it will take to get there and I hope to connect with you in my Remote Control webinar, which I'll be running again soon. So thank you very much, everybody, and have a great day.View full transcript here.
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