How quickly we judge!

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It’s often said that someone will make their mind up about another person in 30 seconds. First impressions count and all that. But what are the first impressions based on? Recent research suggests that, in the case of leadership, it’s based on just two things: warmth and competence.

So, whether you are leading learning in the classroom, leading a team or the leader of a school, it may be worth your while to consider: ‘how am I demonstrating warmth and competence?’

Meeting and greeting at the classroom door, an often repeated refrain by mentors to NQTs, shows warmth and helps to establish rapport. Being present ahead of the team to a meeting and setting out a few biscuits or bringing milk for the tea, is a small act that demonstrates care and develops warmth. Competency is often first judged in the small things: does she have the papers at her finger tips, is the desk cluttered, can he put his hand on his diary to check the appointment? We all know how quickly children will decide on the competency of a person based on the smallest of signals. Interestingly we always found that the student panel on interview days was the most accurate and insightful.

So, it is worth a little self-reflection on those two features in order to enhance your success as a leader of learning.


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