Social Intelligence and Virtual Simulation: The Tools to Great Leadership
At TELLAL we are consistently striving to seek out new and more effective ways to develop teaching skills that will enhance the experiences of our students. Through our Leadership training pathways, we also look closely at the effect leaders have on their educational institutions and the methodologies we can share in order to help them excel at driving their school, students and colleagues to a brighter future.
Through collaboration with educational partners, sharing relevant research and attending pioneering events such as BETT MEA, we are able to evolve our thinking and practices to ensure that you can enjoy the highest levels of teaching standards and the more innovative techniques. As leadership will be a big part of our participation in BETT this year, as well as being crucial to how our schools grow, we wanted to take a quick look at the importance of interpersonal skills in leadership and how our virtual simulation lab can help to develop these skillsets in a safe and supportive environment.
Daniel Goleman has written extensively in the Harvard Business Review about how social intelligence is a ‘must-have’ leadership skill; a facet 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 communication 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. In reality, 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 have to “listen, communicate, persuade and collaborate.”
This new understanding of how to recognise and develop higher quality leadership skills is especially relevant in the educational sector.v School leaders in Dubai 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 a 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, we 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 the 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
- Targeted and focus on discrete skills to enhance specific behaviours or to address common performance errors
- Iterative and promotes self-reflection as well as 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 create 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.