We are all human!

So let’s build on our experiences

Why can’t leaders who deal respectfully and effectively with students apply the same skill set when dealing with their colleagues? Some must be doing it, but I speak with many who can’t, or rather, they haven’t really thought about it in those terms.

To be honest, this is an area that has puzzled me for a long time.

In a modern school, in any given year, an effective teacher will have dealt successfully with a hundred or more students in every stage of engagement with their learning and every level of disharmony in their daily lives.

Yet, most teachers seem not to be able to transfer this skill and experience to dealing with their colleagues.

Over the years, I have proposed various hypotheses as to why this is the case, but none have been convincing. One theory that I still think might have something to it is that we all come through school holding the teacher in a certain position and, even as adults, we find it hard to challenge this framing although “teacher” is now a colleague.

Hans Heysen - Sewing (The artist's wife) - 1913.jpg

It is strange.

Yet, when a young leader makes the connection and starts applying their learning in this new context, it all seems to work. This should hardly be surprising, we are all human and we respond in similar ways when we feel listened to and cared for, when our concerns are taken seriously, and we are helped towards finding a pathway to moving forward to a better place.

Reflecting on how we respond differently to students and colleagues, and what we might learn from that, would be a useful exercise to undertake.

It could save an awful lot of angst in the long run.


John Corrigan is an expert in helping individuals to bring their whole of mind to their daily life and increase their effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around them. This expertise scales from the individual to the team to the organisation. At the core of this work is the practice of encounter.  Earlier blogs can be found here.

·       To purchase a copy of Red Brain Blue Brain go here

John Corrigan