Having lived through a major earthquake during my time as a school director in Japan, I always see a silver lining in disasters. One of the positives to come out of this global pandemic is the Association for the Advancement of International Education’s helpful and insightful webinars. They are connecting international school leaders from all over the world to share ideas, discuss common challenges and help each other. Yesterday’s webinar featured one of my education gurus, Dr. Robert Evans. He was giving his advice with his work partner, Dr. Michael Thompson on how to deal with tragedies in schools. The Boston-area educational psychologists have worked with many schools after 9/11, a sex scandal, deaths of students, etc.
Their main message was the 4 Cs and 1 E of leadership in the time of crisis.
- Courage – The community wants to see their leaders during times of crisis act with calmness, focus and facing the problems head on.
- Connection – The head of school is the architect and overseer of connecting within a community.
- Candor – Always give people the truth and people prefer blunt honesty, even if they disagree with it, rather than someone they think they agree with, but in the end, cannot trust.
- Clarity – A leader needs to decide what is negotiable, what people can give feedback and what is the decision of the leader alone.
- Empathy – It lowers the anxiety level of people when leaders listen to their colleagues. Dr. Evans is a master of this.