Monday, 11 May 2009

Bringing out the best in people – in your family, at your school and at your work – is largely determined by the language we use about them and by how much we encourage individual creativity and responsibility...

If we want to bring out the best in the people we live with and work with we need to trust them, empower them, engage them, encourage them and celebrate everything they do well. Everywhere we look at the moment ‘the language of blame’ governs relationships, making someone ‘wrong’ and bringing out the worst in people who become frustrated, demoralised, anxious or bolshy. The language of blame is used to dominate and control and we all know that the outcome is to encourage people to simply become mediocre. Watch any ‘soap’, read any newspaper, listen to any journalist interviewing any politician, and you cannot fail to see how widespread and corrosive this approach is.

Education Leeds is based on a positive and constructive culture; an approach that values and recognises colleagues as the talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful individuals they are. When I think about the way I act and the way I manage and lead, I ask myself how would I treat a child who was engaging in a task, doing a job or managing a team? How would I help them manage their own self-talk and build their self-esteem to develop their self-efficacy? Surely, then that's the way we should treat our colleagues to build a brilliant school, a brilliant team and a brilliant Education Leeds.

And talking about brilliant people and brilliant places, last week I visited Beechwood Primary School where John Beckett and his colleagues are doing great things aided by their Magical Garden. I talked at the first shortage subject PGCE student event at the Park Plaza Hotel organised by Rachael Dearns and her colleagues. I attended the annual Leeds Ahead conference at the new Leeds Metropolitan University Rosebowl where Gerald Ratner talked about his approach to life and work. I had a stimulating and really enjoyable breakfast with the Pudsey Family of Schools headteachers at Pudsey Civic Hall, and I also visited Aberford Church of England Primary School where Jo Heggie is building something really special.

We are continuing to build something extraordinary across the city. We have created a positive and constructive culture where colleagues are valued, trusted and their efforts celebrated wherever possible. This last week it has been wonderful to spend time with John, Rachael, Stephanie, Jo, the Pudsey headteachers and many other great colleagues. Their commitment, energy, enthusiasm and passion have created special places and special events that continue to help us release the magic.
Keep the faith!

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