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June 3, 2020 /

3 Leadership Lessons In 3 Minutes

I am delighted to share with you three educational leadership lessons in three minutes. Each powerful one minute message comes from the HIP psychology podcast series three “ education in covid 19 times.’ 

Within this series, we interviewed a number of individuals who are leading front the front within our education system. All lessons are powerful traits that top leaders across all performance domains exhibit. They are skills that can be taught and quite simply can’t be ignored. Take five minutes to listen to the snippets and read our accompanying blogs to add value to your leadership journey.


Leadership Lesson 1: “Get around and sit at the other side of the desk.”  Mrs Sharon Lamont, MBE, Principal, Millburn Primary School, Coleraine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkR3icXTtQ0

A line which shouts the word empathy, the ability to understand the views and feelings from the perspective of others. Empathy relates directly to ‘man management’, it helps in building strong relationships and trust within an environment. As Sharon points out, it is a skill that can be practised and developed. Empathy is a key component of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), as Daniel Goleman in his best selling book, “Emotional Intelligence” highlights, EQ is a greater predictor of success in life than IQ. Quite simply we can not afford not to practice these skills as a leader, or to allow staff and children to develop these abilities. 

You never really understand someone until you consider things from their point of view, until you climb into their skin and walk around in it.” Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mocking Bird.

Leadership Lesson 2: “ The corridor conversation allows pupils to see that someone cares about them.” Mr Joe Mc Cann, Principal, St Patrick’s Downpatrick https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSavsnvc-I8

Research points relationships are twice as powerful as any technical skill a leader may have in ‘bringing others with you.’ Showing a genuine interest in the person, as well as the pupil/staff member serves as a solid starting point to fostering relationships. People who are part of ‘caring environments’ feel valued and part of a community. When people feel part of something bigger than themselves, it gives them a sense of purpose, which in turn heightens motivation.  The simple act of showing others you care serves many psychological needs.

“People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” Theodore Roosevelt

Leadership Lesson 3: “Surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.” Professor Tony Gallagher, Queens University Belfast.


We all have individual blind spots, which at times can cause us to make poor decisions. When we surround ourselves with either with like minded people or when people feel unsafe in expressing their opinions or concerns, we create groupthink.  Having a culture where people can discuss ideas from different angles before they become a decision, allows potential trip wires to be identified. An environment where healthy, respectful debate can emerge allows for greater diversity of thinking, which will lead to making more robust and better decisions. 

“Strength lies in differences not in similarities.” Steven Covey.



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