Relational Leadership

 4th International Dialogue on Relational Leadership and Learning

2018 Conference flyer

See you there!

Relational leadership

Giles, D. & Palmer, C. (2015). Exploring a Principal’s Practice during a Period of Significant Organizational Change: Relational Leadership and Sensibilities in Action. The Journal of Meaning-Centered Education. Volume 3, Article 1,

Giles, D.L., Bills, A., & Otero, G. (2015) Pedagogical approaches for developing relational sensibilities in educational leaders. Reflective Practice. DOI:10.1080/14623943.2015.1095725

Giles, D. L. (2015). A storyline of ideological change in a New Zealand primary school. International Journal of Organisational Analysis, 23(2), 320-332.

Bills, A, Cook, J., & Giles, D. L. (2015). Understanding emancipatory forms of educational leadership through schooling justice work: An action research study into second chance schooling development. School Leadership and Management.   DOI:10.1080/13632434.2015.1107037

Leadership formation

Giles, D. L. & Bell, M. (2015). Eportfolios & leadership preparation and development: A tool for enabling educational leaders? Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, 7(2), 443-452.

Kedian, J., Giles, D. L., Morrison, M., & Fletcher, M. (2015). Leadership development as a dialogic process: The rationale and concept of an international leadership institute.  International Journal of Leadership in Education: Theory and Practice, DOI:10.1080/13603124.2014.997800

Bills, A. M., Giles, D., & Rogers, B. (2016). ‘Being in’ and ‘feeling seen’ in professional development as new teachers: the ontological layer(ing) of professional development practice. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 41(2). Retrieved from

Educational research

Giles, D. (2015). Foreword. In H. Askell-Williams. Transforming the Future of Learning with Educational Research (pp. xvii-xviii). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-7495-0


Circle 9th March – this is the launch of the 2nd edition of our book entitled, “Teaching within a relational approach to educational leadership”, Cengage Publishers, Melbourne.  [Can be purchased as an e-book]


Updates on Relational Being

Check out the website and Facebook  for our ‘International Dialogue for Relational Leadership and Learning’.

Website: Relational Leadership & Learning
Facebook:- Relational Leadership


Microsoft (USA) Virtual University

Recently I was invited to contribute to the Microsoft (USA) Virtual University Learning Series webinar on two topics; Relational Leadership & Appreciative Inquiry. Participants were leaders from different continents (even some fellow ‘kiwis’)!

Today was the first day.

I spoke on Relational Leadership in 2 time zones this morning – the first between midnight and 1am, and the second between 9 and 10, with not a lot of sleep in between. And all this while on annual leave 😳

I appreciated the level of interest in Relational Leadership.
One participant, Sheree, summed our dialogue by reminding us of the Maori saying, “what is the most important thing? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. It is people. It is people. It is people.” Another noted that “relationships are the currency of leadership”.

This arrangement of taking 2 sessions on each topic happens again in August on my second topic of interest. On this occassion, I will do a duet with my esteemed colleague, Dr Michael Bell.

A very rewarding and challenging experience; my first use of a webinar.

I must return to my siesta while Pauline is not wasting time with her credit card on Hastings St in Noosa!

Talk soon

14 July 2015

Today, we are testing the links for next weeks, Microsoft-sponsored webinar on ‘Relational Leadership’ nest week.


14 July 2015

Where will the 3rd International “Relational Leadership and Learning for hope-full and sustainable futures” conference be held in 2017?

A ‘not-to-be-missed, deeply relational expeience.

Keep watching for details.


12 July 2015

Relating as dialogue

Two thoughts that I’ve been chewing from the 2nd International “Relational Leadership and Learning for hope-full and sustainable futures” conference in Adelaide last week:

– “We exist as relationships” (Dr Dipane Hlalele).

– How might we add 2 further lines, and what would they say, if we added 2 lines to the following statement:

‘to be human is to relate,

to relate is to dialogue,



What would you write?

Take care



31 May 2015
my weekend’s chewing

‘Resiliant leaders are intentional’

OR is it

‘Resilient leaders are intentionally relational’

AND (is the reverse also true?)

‘Intentionally relational leaders are more likely resiliant’

Chew on this idea and let me know what you think?  Back to sleep now, but don’t you love the thoughts that find us while we’re not thinking


Relational Leadership and Learning for sustainable and hope-full futures (RLL)

Lock in the first week of July for the second RLL conference in July 2015 at the Flinders School of Education.

Prof John Halsey, Assoc Prof George Otero and I hosted the inaugural international dialogue in 2013 in Sante Fe, New Mexico. The time it is Adelaide’s opportunity to host the conference.

For emerging details: email

For questions (that are easier), write me a comment on this site.



An edited SASPA 2014 Conference Blog on the presentation by Professor David Giles, Dean of Education, Flinders University, entitled, “Humanity and Leadership”

David begins with Maori acknowledgement of country. Nice touch, reminds me that we should learn the kaurna words.

The power and relationships in education.
Individual endeavour will not get us to where we want to go, and what we want to know. Thus the prevailing (reductionist, political) construct of society says we are a collection of individuals. He is being very passionate about this, and it is a troubling idea indeed.

He intends to explore the idea of mood, the ‘life’, and the nature of relationships in a school.

We can feel the mood of a place before anything is spoken …..
We are in the relationships that underpin the mood and the life of the organisation.
Are people expressing themselves, or keeping quiet?
Are they focusing on the power relationships, keeping their heads in, like turtles?
He reminds us that, as leaders, we are the guardians of the mood.

The relationships we share ‘exist’ in the space and mood ‘between’ us. We are both responsible for mood and the life of the relationship.
The I -it relationship, someone organising you, emotionally blackmail, telling you, manipulating you (being it-ed)
The I-thou relationship, we do it together, discuss, negotiate ….

He relates a powerful story about a relationship with a student in NZ, exemplifying his motto, relationships always matter.

As leaders of schools, how do we detect and take care of the mood between us in the school?

We arrived today, sensing the mood, the openness, affirmation of relationships, David senses that the SASPA in good health, lots of connections.

How can set about influencing the mode and life of the organisation from the inside?
Consider the use of Appreciative inquiry, and questions such as, What do we stand for? What is our special character? unique contribution? known for? what do we want to known for?

He charges us with this task.
You leadership task is to become relationally aware, to tune into patterns of relationships.
Releasing others to take power and responsibility for what they do.

Lovely Garth boomer quote about strategic relationships. Look it up on the slides.

How do you attune to the mood? What strategies do you use to influence the life of the school?
He is concerned that we have been diverted by plans and reports rather then culture. We can be efficient and compliant, will this look after the life, the culture and relationships in the school?

Thanks David.

Best wishes
Susan Hyde
Principal, Australian Science and Mathematics School

5 Leadership Skills You Must Have to Succeed BY LOLLY DASKAL @LOLLYDASKAL

It’s critical that you not only know your business but also understand leadership. That means real leadership, not some watered-down corporate version. Here are the five skills you need the most:

1. The skill of self-awareness

Success begins within. When you have a sense of who you are, it invites you to do something about it. Having self-awareness amounts to being better advised. The more you know yourself, the closer you can become to being all you can be.

2. The skill of business acumen–and then some

Success begins with keenness and quickness in understanding and dealing with a business situation in a manner that is likely to lead to a good outcome. In the competitive environment of business, being the best at what you do is good, making good decisions is great-;but a clear, comprehensive understanding of the environment you’re operating in is invaluable.

3. The skill of relationship-building

Building lasting relationships is the cornerstone of all business success, and respect is at the heart of building business relationships. It is the glue that holds together the functioning of teams, partnerships, and managing relationships. Even with the best products and business practices, you still need strong relationships to succeed.

4. The ability to create an inspired culture

A culture of inspiration and motivation influences others to perform at their best. One of the most important assets of any enterprise and every business are the employees and its culture. Together they create a system of shared passion and commitment, which creates an environment that breeds, talent, growth, development, and creativity.

5. The skill of agility and adaptability

Adapting to change requires the willingness to manage change and to stay open to new ideas, it means to be adaptable to new situations, handle unexpected demands with aplomb, and be ready to pivot at any moment. To maneuver through changes is to learn to be adaptable and agile.
“Remember that culture trumps strategy”

7 August 2014

I’ve been working on my keynote presentation, entitled “Humanity and leadereship”, for the South Australia Secondary Principal’s Association’s conference on the 14th and 15th August..

Humanity ppt

Appreciate your thoughts.


————————————— // ———————————-

Giles, D. (2014). Appreciatively Building Higher Educator’s Relational Sensibilities. The Journal of Meaning-Centered Education. Volume 2, Article 1,

Latest article by Giles & Yates (2014)

Qualitatively surveying the relational culture of educational organisations.

Last article in volume 22(1)



————————————— // ———————————-
Relational sensibilities as phenomena

Watching surfers at Duranbah beach, I’ve been pondering how surfers show sensibilities such as ‘nous’; reading the waves; ‘improvisation’ on the waves; and ‘resoluteness’ in terms of their staying power.

For your info, see “appreciatively building higher educators relational sensibilities”, vol 2 issue 1, Journal of Meaning Centered Education.

————————————— // ———————————-
30 Sep 2013

Read this today and thought it could also be applied to Relatonal Leadership:
“The underlying purpose … we need to collaborate to spread ideas, make connections, and to be our ideas in action” (Duvander et al, 2013, p. 38)

————————————— // ———————————-
29 Sep 2013

Relational leadership is always embodied: my poem, How comportment speaks, influences the voice

Our comportment speaks to another,
Allowing glimpses of our being,
They find us in moments,
Calling for relating.

Our being-in-the-world is ‘as comportment’,
The ‘how’ of our ‘being-there-with’,
Each ‘how’ is sensed and felt,
Influencing relating.

Good teachers comport ‘towards’ their students,
To the ‘person’ in relationship,
Turning towards they relate,
Impressing the relating.

Your comportment changes our relating,
Opening and closing my way-of-being,
The way I stand is seen & heard,
Changing our relating.

We are found attuning to the comportment of another,
Our voices showing this experience of relating,
At times speaking, at times silenced,
Always the voice in relating.

Comporting an unspoken accessible way-of-being
Other’s ways-of-being are called out and open,
Togetherness evitable; the ‘how’ changeable
Found in relating.

(c) David L. Giles

1 Feb 2103

Our book for postgraduate curriculum developers within educational leadership and management.

The book launch of “Co-constructing a relational approach to Educational Leadership and Management” by David Giles, Michael Bell, John Halsey & Carolyn Palmer is being launched on the 19th November 2012. Published by Cengage, Melbourne.

Who should read it? Those desiring to see a relational priority return to educational leadership.

Just waiting on purchasing details details.


2 thoughts on “Relational Leadership

Add yours

    1. Morning Samuel
      Re your offer to review – are you referring to our book entitled “Co-constructing a relational approach to educational leadership”?
      If so, the answer is absolutely yes -> send me your postal address.

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