Episode #179: Matt Taylor

Dana GoodierOut of the Trenches Podcast


Matthew Taylor leads the Noble Story Group, a consulting firm that brings an emotional intelligence-based approach to leadership development in education and non-profit organizations. Matthew recently published The Noble School Leader, a practical guide for school leaders and managers seeking concrete strategies for professional improvement.

He has extensive experience teaching in and leading schools, having worked in urban neighborhood, urban charter, international, private, and magnet schools.

Trenches story: will tell rock-bottom moment as a principal. Was a turning point in his life- burnt out, had 2 kids under 2. Had no time for self-care. In mindset of doing everything everyone told him to do. Didn’t delegate. Said he’d make it work outside the box. Gave himself permission to try something different. Gave self a year to delegate- more opportunities. A lot of teachers find themselves in this situation too. His was closing the opportunity gap. Culture of self-sacrifice. Was worried people would judge. “Not giving enough”.  Was reactive. Guilty for not being proactive. Took on other ppl’s tasks. Looked for a different way to do things. Permission allowed him to start looking for things. Heard people’s stories differently.    

How school leaders can leverage emotional intelligence to make ​​transformative growth happen in schools, give an example or 2- connect it to the trench story. His coaching applies EI to self-management, social awareness, balance, sustainability. It leads to decisions one makes about self-sacrifice. Locus of control. Where do I have influence over things outside school? Building strategies, relationships, advocating, influencing, managing ppl week. EI is 4 dimensions. Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, how can I engage w/ others in order to meet my goal? Standard is core values & context. He needed a coach. He was an “unintended enabler/Doer” in his trenches. Also “untended enabler”- shied away from conflict. Couldn’t apply it in real life. What can I do to self-manage? What stories did he tell himself? He helps ppl shift their inner narratives. Other people were enabled. Understanding/knowing where others wanted to be. How could he engage them? Challenge while maintaining a connection. He builds a learning plan for leaders. Mindset work. 

Why did you decide to write the book, The Noble School Leader? Why now? Talk a bit about the book (published in April). What stories do I need to believe to shift to? He developed this approach in school. Saw everyone in school needs this. Every org needs this. It was about having this impact. Saw suffering in this kind of work during pandemic

How school leaders can apply the core domains of emotional intelligence and become a more inclusive leader and create personal growth plans. How you work w/ principals in creating the growth plans. Top 3 things-using EI, helping leaders see their own blind spots connected to identity. Their identity in terms of cultural norms. Obstacles to being great listeners. Helping them see the impact of when they’re not doing inclusive practices. Leveraging empathy. Where are these folks in terms of their values, hopes and fears? It comes down to creating conditions for learning for adults/kids. 

Leveraging Emotional Intelligence to create the social-emotional conditions for teachers to thrive post Covid Educators are in need of deep healing/repair. They’ve been running at break-neck speed. Start with base of Maslow’s triangle. How do you create a culture of self-care in your school? How to create a culture where self-care is a prerequisite. We’ve just been trying to survive during pandemic. How can we rebuild conditions for our learning? It’s not just for t’s it’s for the kids. 

What are school leaders’ 3 greatest challenges today in school? Most existed before the pandemic. Tension b/w balancing SEL needs and academic growth. Political pressure. Culture wars. Loneliness of leadership/chronic burnout. Leader retention is poor as well. How do we adequately support & grow leaders to have good conditions for leading? 

What can we do about teacher and school leaders feeling burned out, disconnected, and underappreciated? What can we do about having the appreciation last all year instead of just the week in May? Substitute appreciation w/ care. Care for/of. What competencies are we focusing on? Going after holistic competencies

How can a school district divert resources towards helping leader’s EI? Investing in coaching. Helps them get a clear-headed look. Setting that’s not evaluative. Books like The Noble School leader lay out a path. Leaders/teachers can pick a chapter. They can also create some space for this kind of work. Noble story group has a team self-care check-in. 1 hour every month. 

Key quotes:

Our job as educators is to create the conditions for learning. Click To Tweet 

This work is largely emotional- there is a roadmap grounded in EI (emotional intelligence) he can give listeners.

Find Matt online at www.noblestorygroup.com

LinkedIn @noble-story-group

Facebook: @noblestorygroup

Twitter: @noblestorygroup

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Hm23H7WwY78


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