Thursday, 11 January 2018

Leadership Conversations

A significant part of leadership is all about developing the right habits. One of these is around the types of conversation that you tend to have as a leader. Andy Buck has simplified this for school leaders at all levels - you should only have three types of conversation!

‘Monkey on the shoulder’ conversations

Someone comes to talk to you about an issue and concern. Before you know it, you’ve ended up with a job! Whilst there is a place for ’monkey on the shoulder’ conversations, you shouldn’t have too many.

‘Wise owl’ conversations

These are dialogues in which you end up giving advice, making suggestions or even just telling someone what to do. These conversations don’t build capacity or competence in your colleagues. In fact, they do the reverse.

‘Dolphin’ conversations

The important habit I am suggesting all leaders need to keep developing, is that of ‘asking first’. Here, leaders just ask brilliant questions. It is more about you using a coaching leadership style than it is actually formally coaching. In a nutshell, aim to ask questions that help the other person to:

1. understand the background or situation

2. work out what they want to do or their aim

3. consider their options and work out their strategy or approach

4. decide what they are going to do or implement

5. work out how this can continue as a sustainable solution

As the words in bold highlight, this approach to structuring these conversations uses the acronym of BASIC.

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