Wednesday 15 January 2014

Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence

Wow, I took my first course through Coursera! What a great experience. I took the 8 week course Inspiring Leadership through EmotionalIntelligence. It was offered by Case Western Reserve University and the Instructor was Richard Boyatzis. It was an 8 week course that I worked on from October 28th through December 23rd of 2013. It was a great experience and it has turned me into a Coursera fan. I am registered in an upcoming class on public speaking.

The big idea in this course that impacted me the most is that inspiring leaders create experiences of hope, compassion, mindfulness, and playfulness with the people around them. As well, these qualities are important to have in our own experiences to keep us renewed and to ameliorate the effects of stress in our lives. Of course once you think about it, it seems to be common sense that experiences of hope, compassion, mindfulness, and playfulness would help us build resonant relationships and keep us feeling positive and renewed. The course offers up the neuroscience to back up the common sense as well. Being a big fan of neuroscience I enjoyed the readings immensely.

Another big idea that I really appreciated was that of Boyatzis’ Intentional Change Theory (ICT). This theory is basically a model of sustained, desired change for people individually or in groups. Reading and listening to this theory was like a light bulb going off. It was explaining so much of what I’ve seen and experienced but was not entirely conscious of or able to put it into words. Not only does this course explain how one can use ICT to change in the direction one wants to, but it also explains how it can be used to coach others and to develop as an organization.

As a classroom teacher, I am a leader. I think that it is easy to take for granted that because I am more experienced, knowledgeable, and mature than my students then leadership is natural and easy. This course has made me more aware of the importance of building resonant relationships with my students, renewing my own emotional well-being, and coaching my students with the use of hope. I think that most teachers are aware that good relationships in the classroom make for more effective teaching an learning but I haven't typically thought of building relationships specifically for the purpose of leading. Attitude is contagious but so is energy level and motivation and this course offered lots of information and strategies in regards to keep ourselves strong and renewed. By using hope, I can move my students into a positive emotional affect which makes it much easier for them to see how to move forward with their goals and helps them take ownership of their learning.

I found the readings in this course to be very interesting and enjoyable. The lectures were focused and the assignments were practical and really did help me learn the information in a minds-on manner. My favourite assignment was creating a personal vision aimed at creating the experience of hope. Not only did I experience hope while writing it but the vision has stayed with me and I experience hope just thinking about it. I have also gone back and read it a few times already. Thank you, Coursera, Case Western Reserve University, and Richard Boyatzis!

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