Recently, a well established and highly regarded early childhood centre received news that quickly made the entire team feel overwhelmed, Leadership, Neuro-linguistic and Conversational Intelligence Coach Sarah Moore writes.
They instantly went from being engaged, focused and productive to a place of heightened ‘distrust’. Distrust is not tangible, but rather it’s a feeling of negative energy which can breed quickly within a team.
In fact, based on the life’s work of organisational anthropologist Judith E Glaser, Conversational Intelligence, “within 10 feet of another person, the process of connectivity begins and through this connection we feel what others feel”. In the instance of ‘distrust’, this feeling can permeate a team just as easily as the common cold.
So, what was it that moved this effective team of early childhood professionals to a state of ‘distrust’? Simply, it was a written notification that their Assessment and Rating process had commenced. A regulatory authority email of less than 20 words sent an entire team into a place of perceived danger and uncertainty!
As human beings, we are programmed to anticipate and protect ourselves from threat and harm. For many directors and early childhood leaders, personal and professional identity is intrinsically caught up in the success of their centre. The very thought that they could be heading towards a less than exceeding rating can overwhelm a director and their team.
The impact at times like this can be extremely detrimental to the operations of a service, but also very harmful to the overall health and wellbeing of the team, in addition to the children and families supported by the service. Let’s not forget Glaser’s observations that feelings can be shared between people just by physical proximity alone.