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Conscious Communication In Early Childhood Education

Updated: 3 days ago

Neuroscience offers key insights for services facing change on how to approach leadership development, change management and the development of high-performing teams.

Did you know that every conversation we have evokes either trust or mistrust?

The brain processes these two responses separately, in two different areas. Mistrust triggers the lower brain more primitive brain (the amygdala) and activates a threat response. Trust activates higher-level intelligences (via the prefrontal cortex) such as integrity, empathy, and good judgment.

The amygdala is responsible for actions of fight, flight, freeze or appease and once activated (when we mistrust) cortisol is released, our brain goes into lockdown, our access to the higher thinking part of our brain is limited and we are unable to engage with others. We actually can’t think properly. This results in poor communication, lack of perception and problem solving skills.

On the other hand, when we access our pre-frontal cortex, via a feeling of trust, oxytocin is released. The prefrontal cortex enables us to collaborate with others, have good judgment, be strategic, handle difficult conversations, and build and sustain trust.

Environments Of Distrust

If we are in environment of mistrust, we are operating out of the emotional part of our brain and this may limit access to our brain’s higher thinking ability reducing our ability to be the best version of ourselves.

You can imagine the difference it would make to an Early Education Services when everyone within a service has the ability to create an environment of trust.

The question for Early Education Leaders is, how do you create an environment of trust in your service so that your team can perform at their best?

In my leadership and coaching programs, I have been incorporating the amazing work of in organizational anthropologist, Judith E. Glaser, who uses her knowledge of neuroscience within some of the top 500 Fortune Companies across the world, to help them have better conversations, build stronger relationships and improve performance.

Empowered And Supported

Imagine if everyone in your service was empowered and supported to develop their capabilities and attitudes to work in ways that regulate oxytocin, which in turn leads to building and maintaining high levels of trust?

Consider the impact this would have on the relationships amongst your team and with the children and families you work with.

Change often creates an environment where teams feel excluded from decision-making, or information or feel that they are having change imposed and they have limited choices. This results in mistrust and high levels of stress with staff operating out of their amygdala. They are limited in their ability to access the higher functioning part of their brain that would enable them to consider new ideas, broaden their perspective and adopt change positively.

How is your service communication designed to up-regulate oxytocin, so that your teams are able to easily adopt new ideas, approaches, routines and strategies whilst utilizing behaviors such as listening to understand, transparency, appreciation, sharing and co-creation of new ideas

As an Early Education Leader are you or perhaps your Management Committee un-intentionally creating mistrust? If so, you might want to consider expanding your neuroscience knowledge and leadership tool kit.