Scott McLellan: Emotional Intelligence is a key part of wellbeing

As the calendar turns onto the 1st of September Head Teachers across the country take to the floor to share the years ‘targets’.  For many in the audience this is a time of worry and anxiety as they hear numbers that are not achievable, they hear that nothing is really changing, yet they are expected to ‘do better’ than the previous year. 

Have you experienced this scenario before?  You may not be able to change the targets but you can start to use your emotional intelligence to adapt your approach to the year and create an environment in which you can thrive and feel successful.  I want to share three approaches you can use as you start the new year.

Be self aware.

You will need to take some time to be honest with yourself and create two lists.  The first being the positives, what makes you feel happy and content in school, the parts you enjoy.  Then flip it, what do you not enjoy, which parts make you feel sad or frustrated. The negatives. Once you have written them down simply total up the number of each.   Which number is greater?  If it’s the positive list,

If your negative list is the higher, it is time to be honest with yourself.  Why are you in a job that you do not enjoy?  What can you change to make the job more enjoyable? 

Looking at your negative list, choose no more than three and look at each one in more depth.  Ask yourself why you don’t enjoy it and what can YOU do to change it.  Can you make a personal change to make it more enjoyable, these could include training, removing it from your role or adapting your approach to the task.

This activity can be tough, but once you complete it you will be fully aware of how you feel about your current role and what you can do to make it add more value to you.

Set your own goals:

The targets set by the head may be unachievable, if you chose to focus on these targets you will not allow yourself to feel successful. Your wellbeing and emotional health will suffer and continue to deteriorate over the course of the year.

Setting your own goals will allow you to control your own success.  Each time you achieve a goal you start to feel more successful, you will create positive emotions and start to feel good about yourself and the amazing job you do each and every day.

These goals must be specific, measurable, challenging and achievable. As small as start and finish all your lessons on time or complete all marking by 5.30 every day.  They can be daily, weekly and or monthly in length, but remember the longer time limit you set, you will need to review your progress regularly.

When you achieve a goal, you must celebrate it!  Allow yourself to feel good, check it off your list of goals achieved or share it with your friends or loved ones.  These actions will start to create a wave of positive emotions and success.

Share your emotions:

Its is vital that you share how you are feeling with your line manager.  Keeping your emotions bottled up rarely adds value and can have a huge impact on your mental health, wellbeing and your relationships. 

Its is important that you agree and date and time to speak to your line manager, as speaking when you are not prepared can lead to an explosion of emotions and have a negative impact on your relationship with your line manager.

 As you now have a date and time you can prepare for the conversation.  Write down how you’re feeling (no one can disagree with how you feel) and why you are feeling that way. 

The next step is an important part of your emotional intelligence.  You must create a solution that adds value to you, your line manager and the school.  This displays that you are not just emotionally dumping but you are willing to make changes to improve the situation.  If you are unwilling to be flexible, then its more than likely that nothing will be resolved. 

Always remember it is very difficult to disagree if you can describe a positive outcome for everyone involved.

Three activities that can be completed at the very start of the year and continue throughout if required.  You will need to be committed to feeling successful and adding value to your wellbeing each day.  Your emotional intelligence is an instrument, the more you practice the better you become.  So whatever the ‘targets’ in September you are ready to be the happiest and best teacher you can be!

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Scott Mclellan

Scott Mclellan

Scott runs Embrace - an emotional intelligence training consultancy.

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