Unpacking the Tools to Great Leadership

TELLAL has started using virtual simulation as a tool to develop social intelligence in experienced and aspiring leaders.

One of the key elements to the successful evolution of educational standards and student potential is undoubtedly found within the leadership of our schools and institutions. Visionary leadership that promotes inclusion, diversity and innovation is crucial to progressing the way we teach our students and shaping the environments that best promote their development. By sharing research, both internally and externally of our industry, and collaborating on techniques and methodologies, we can collectively foster the kind of leaders and leadership practices that will provide a brighter future for generations to come.

At TELLAL our leadership training pathways are designed to look closely at the effect leaders have on their educational institutions and the ways in which we can adapt our training techniques to best befit current and potential leaders with the right skills to exceed in these vital positions. One of the major considerations we have been examining is the importance of interpersonal skills in good leadership and how our specially designed virtual simulation lab training can help to develop those skill sets in a safe and supportive environment.

Author, journalist and emotional intelligence expert, Daniel Goleman has written extensively in the Harvard Business Review about how social intelligence is a ‘must-have’ leadership skill, an ability that has become more and more evident in recent years. Knowledge and expertise can be significantly diluted if the individual isn’t able to effectively communicate or integrate well with the rest of the organisation. Social intelligence represents the fusion between emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. Traditional work environments often dismissed emotional intelligence as unnecessary, when in fact it is now widely considered to be a vital tool, particularly by the top performing brands in the world. Strong emotional intelligence and good interpersonal skills have far more influence on developing positive organisational culture and high-performing teams. According to Richard Boytazis, the author of Resonant Leadership, highly effective leaders must be able to “listen, communicate, persuade and collaborate” to produce the best results.

This new understanding of how to recognise and develop higher quality leadership skills is especially relevant in the education sector. School leaders in the UAE need to find the right approaches to encourage collaboration, communication and integration within the extremely diverse landscapes of their student body and teaching staff. Sticking to the traditional, ‘reactive’ methods of old, can alienate colleagues and often reflects a lack of vision or perception of low commitment. Leaders who embrace higher levels of social and interpersonal intelligence have consistently shown to have developed better workplace cultures including building more effective teams and innovative better results for the organisation. These types of leaders also displayed a greater ability to tackle adversity and use their resilience to grow and inspire their teams.

Since these vital competencies are now a globally recognised necessity for effective leadership, TELLAL wanted to ensure our programmes could help foster those skills in current and future leaders. A key way in which we have been able to do that is through our Virtual Simulation Lab. The virtual simulation environment supports and scaffolds double-looped learning so that leaders get to ‘practice and play’ in the virtual sandpit, so they have more leadership readiness, confidence and self-concept for the real world.

When using mixed reality simulation training, experienced and aspiring leaders can master complex social skills by interacting with adult avatars in mimicked real-life situations. This allows them to practice a variety of methods and skills to find the best solution and get real-time feedback on their performance. The blend of artificial and human intelligence allows the avatars to enact ‘trigger’ behaviours that require leaders to respond using their social and technical leadership skills. The experience provides key skills development opportunities that are:

  • Authentic, hands-on, and models what research has determined is the most effective method for adult learners; n Targeted and focused on discrete skills to enhance specific behaviours or to address common performance errors;
  • Iterative and promotes self-reflection and accelerates professional growth;
  • Personalised to meet leaders at their ‘state of readiness’ and enables them to practice the skills they could start using tomorrow

The safe space offered by the simulations creates opportunities for immediate reflection and correction, which provides individuals with a uniquely authentic rehearsal avenue. It supports leaders in developing the ‘must-have’ social intelligence skills by helping them go beyond their underlying assumptions, challenge their preconceptions and reject their unconscious biases to ensure greater congruency with how they interact with others. By being more aware of how your beliefs, intentions, emotions, words and actions are perceived and received by others, you can develop a far greater command of the right techniques and methods needed to be the best leader you can be.

If you would like to find out more about TELLAL’s leadership pathways and training programmes, you can visit our website at www.tellalinstitute.com, call us +971 4 403 5146 or email us at info@tellalinstitute.com.