Conscious Communication In Early Education
With yet another round of changes in funding; Start Strong, as well as the changes in the National Quality Framework, Early Education Leaders are faced with an increased level of change to navigate.
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.
I invite you to identify three simple changes you could make to your own behavior, or in the work environment, that utilize some neuroscience trust building strategies.
It might be asking questions to which you do not know the answer, it could be listening to connect rather than solely having transactional conversations and or start team meetings with a check in, to find out how everyone is doing.
Creating environments of trust, as a key priority is a smart leadership choice, the results will be increased motivation and performance with more team engagement.
About the Author: Sarah Moore is the Director of Early Education Leadership... with a difference, offering facilitation, coaching, mentoring and training to help Early Education Professionals and teams make positive change and achieve professional and personal success.
Sarah participated in the first International Conversational Intelligence for Coaches Program in 2016 and became a Certified Core Skills C-IQ Coach. She now utilises the research and neuroscience based tools created by Judith E. Glaser.
So if you are experiencing any communication challenges within your team and or would like to raise the standard of communication within your service and with the families and communities with new communication tools and approaches, Sarah is definitely worth contacting.