If you are in any sort of leadership role at the present time you will very likely be feeling the pressure.
Everywhere demands are increasing and resources are feeling stretched. Things that seemed possible before may no longer seem possible. Things that seemed impossible now may need to be reviewed. In these times your team members can be looking with impatience to you as leader and will want to know what action is being taken on things that matter.
How are you going to respond?
It is when the pressure starts heating up that relationship skills really matter. We can all get along reasonably well when the stakes are not too high but as the temperature increases, so you will start to see the different ways that your staff team, and your family members behave.
But what about you - what is your style when the pressure increases?
An insight into what is happening and then the fine tuning of your own skills can make all the difference to whether dramas become crises.
I became interested in the overlooked issue of relationship health and relationship skills over an extended period as I worked on trying to grasp the essence and explore the integration of decades of research on child development. My desire was for something solid and practical that could help guide decision making around the needs of children who were anxious and challenging.
After much time spent in the fog, themes started to emerge and one of the details that I found most exciting was the emergence of many repeating patterns.
I realised that the ideas that were so helpful in understanding how to help children were also helpful in understanding many other everyday situations - such as leadership. Eventually what emerged through this puzzling process was something I called The I Matter Framework. It started off thinking about adult-child relationships, and then I realised it could help inform work with adults. It could help inform work with teams, and it could help inform an understanding of how to develop the qualities on which effective leadership depends.
However right now I observe a very real challenge and that is that caring professionals and parents are leaders are often so busy that there is very little time to step back and think about the Big Picture.
What for example is the link between
+ Stressed Children
+ Stressed Staff
+ Stressed Parents
Why exactly is there such a problem in child mental health and adult mental health?
and again how could we meaningfully respond?
These were the questions I wanted answering.
Maybe you have been wondering about this too?
Is there something we could be doing differently?
Having spent a lot of time reviewing this research my view is that decades of evidence on children's mental health and wellbeing is very clear. It is telling us that some changes in the way that we practice are urgently needed.
What is needed is that we make relationship health in all its guise a top priority.
+ Relationships between adults - in the couple life
+ Relationships in the classroom
+ Relationships at home between adults and children
+ Relationships in the community
+ AND therefore a top priority is support for the development of relationship skills - in all the ways that relationships occur - at all ages and stages.
This isn't about sudden dramatic restructuring, but it is about seeing differently and making small but significant determined changes to our everyday practices.
If you would like to learn more then you may be interested in learning about the I Matter Intensive - which offers a summary integration of this evidence and about the I Matter Organisational Awards.
I have observed that this change only really happens, through the determined actions of individuals.
So change when it comes will be an I Matter process
My first attempt to find my way out of the fog of complexity was a resource I wrote in 1995 that I titled: An Integrated Approach to Practice. I have dusted it off and it still seems rather useful as a reference: FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE
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Dr Cathy Betoin
Clinical Psychologist, Teacher, Parent
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