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Four Stages of Competence

I confess I have been floundering since I was appointed Chair of Trustees (Governors) at the end of September.

I had a hard act to follow and all my questions around 'How do I know what to do?' were met with comments about the 5 years of experience the previous Chair if those years of experience were going to miraculously transfer to me by osmosis! The Head certainly believes that know everything he is referring to in every conversation we have and I am constantly playing catch up!

My alarm now goes off at 4:30am daily, so I have more time to figure out what I should be doing (alongside my full time job!). I was definitely applying the Four Stages of Competence to my situation - I already knew what I didn't know (conscious incompetence), but how could I work out what I didn't even know I didn't know (unconscious incompetence)! Certainly my competence to fulfill the role was questionable and my confidence levels were draining...

...Until last night, when I attended my first 'Chair's Strategic Briefing', hosted by Herts for Learning Governance.

In the space of two and half hours, I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders as I discovered the vast array of support structures, services and resources put in place by Hertfordshire for Chairs and Governors. I probably spent half the evening just managing my state and holding back tears of utter relief as I realised I was not alone and I'm certainly not incompetent!

How could I have not known this service existed? Probably because I was too busy running round like a headless chicken, doing my best to hold it all together!

I have now been empowered to find the things I need as a new Chair; I have people to ask if I am stuck, worried or just plain confused (quite easy in the education system, which is full of acronyms and less than friendly terminology!).

How often do we sit there, doing our best to fathom things out, find answers on our own and stay silent because of the pressure we put upon ourselves to be competent, believing our best isn't good enough?

My learning is to be more compassionate and patient with myself when embarking on a new venture and be more mindful of the Four Stages of Competence...because we really do have all the resources we need...sometimes it is just a question of knowing where to look!

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