Jose Mourinho is not a man to shy away from controversy or a strong opinion. A lot like many educational twitter types. So I was taken aback when I read the following yesterday on the BBC Sports pages:

Mourinho also revealed his first job was as a teacher working with children with Down’s syndrome and mental disabilities, a time when he discovered the importance of establishing relationships.

“I wasn’t technically ready to help these kids,” he said. “And I had success only because of one thing, the emotional relation that was established with them.

“I did little miracles only because of the relationship. Affection, touch, empathy – only because of that.”

“Of course you need the knowledge, the capacity to analyse things. But the centre of everything is the relationship, and empathy, not only with the individual but in the team.”

This is the leadership I was trying to talk about recently in a blog I wrote about Love and Understanding. It is a blog that got the most hits I have ever had in a day but for what I felt were the wrong reasons. So, I write this in slight trepidation. This is because I think I am having a ‘bit’ of a go at @oldandrewuk. Someone who I like to imagine is in fact very much like Mourinho and misunderstood. I know! As so many of you DM’d me recently he does sometimes ‘go at things like a dog with a bone’, ‘he does not like primary’, he can ‘argue all night’. He…

In truth I did find the sudden highlighting of a blog I wrote having a sentence from it taken out, dissected and re-blogged, as a negative, difficult to take at first. The blog was meant to be about ‘love and understanding’ in educational leadership but it was read by some as an attack on teachers from an uncaring SLT perspective. I was that ‘mad’ head refusing to listen to his teachers. This was due to the way it was retweeted as much as it was to my poor sentence structure. Context is powerful stuff and when our words drift away from the overall meaning, you even question yourself. What I meant to say was what Mourinho said – that it is about the team not the individuals. I now realise that your written words can be analysed in more detail than a heads first year in a special measures school. What I am learning is… accept this. When you are bold enough to put to written word what you think, you may just get criticised. In fact if you don’t you are either poorly viewed or just repeating other people’s views. Therefore, when you do, you better be able to stand by them.

So when @oldandrew tweeted…

One for the “Head sees disruptive behaviour as a deficit on the part of the teacher” file: http://t.co/CaVxYlxzfC A big file.

Part of the brutality of the retweet and the resulting tweets was a ‘you post it you deal with it’ attitude. It was cold and it was stark. Again, on reflection, this is ok. I realised quickly that you do need to stand by your words. I also realised you can look like a loon very quickly when influential people retweet your words into the twittercosm. I particularly liked (it seems to be removed now?) a reply that said I sounded like the type of person you crossed the road to avoid talking to. I have, of course, been lording in my wounded warrior role ever since.

When @tombennet71 later replied: Criticism is merely a sign people are listening. I assure you I get roasted every day 🙂

I suddenly got it. Maybe seeking a little criticism was a good thing. I know Mourinho can dish out the criticism. Maybe this frees you up to stick by what you say – even if it is slightly unhinged. Better still, reflect and develop what you have said. So? Though I am slightly further along the road I also feel that it was a particularly useful lesson. I can only blame @oldandrew for this, (I think he will survive) I know he highlights in a sea of educational mist. I just feel, though I am sure he will disagree, that he highlighted me out of context. But, I did say the words I wrote…

Therefore, this may come across a little like a peasant having a go at royalty here. I feel that the come backs will do one of the following:

Make me look like a bit of a dick…

Make me look like I am slightly desperate…

Make me look more like … a bit of a dick…

By blogging I think I am learning to accept that criticism is going to come my way. Me and @theprimaryhead used to have a saying, “Sometimes in headship you have to be a bit of a dick… just don’t be a total dick.” It’s by trying not to be a dick that you learn to do things better I believe.This was certainly a learning curve – very naive in retrospect. I have learnt that far clever people are out there and they know stuff about stuff that I do not… But I want to know about this stuff. I really do. It is like being an NQT again! This is the leadership and empathy thing. Maybe, just maybe @oldandrewuk is a man who really gets the love and understanding thing. Maybe he gets it in the way it needs to be got. Tough love – like worn leather tough love is about the longer journey. I am sure that Jose Mourinho is tough… but he clearly cares. I think Mourinho also knows that you are one maverick or mistake away from being a fool yourself.

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