“We succeed or fail one conversation at a time.”
Hard conversations are never easy. Regardless of how “right” they may be, it doesn’t make it any easier on the person giving it, or the person receiving it. It can be one of the most difficult parts of an administrators job, and can easily turn into a disaster. When problems arise, in the worst companies people will withdraw into silence. In the best companies, people will hold a crucial confrontation, face to face and in the moment. And they’ll hold it well.
Dialogue example – Steps to Mastering a Crucial Conversation
Before embarking on a critical, or crucial, conversation…ask yourself these three questions:
- How important is it for the students or staff that I bring this up? Is it a “me” thing or is it an”impacting student success” thing?
- Is what is going on in the classroom unsafe or damaging to students or staff?
- What would happen if I didn’t have the conversation?
Other tips to keep in mind:
- Have a plan. Who will be involved in the conversation? Where will it take place? When will it happen? Will it be documented?
- What should your role be? Remember to listen to all parties involved. Be genuine in your efforts to resolve the issue at hand. Find a solution that fits. Beware of hidden agendas.
- You are the LEADER. It all begins and ends with you. The tone, intent, and follow through are all going to depend on how you handle the situation.
There will be a google hangout this week on “Critical Conversations”, stay tuned! (I will update this post when time and guests are decided!)
For your prompt for this week, blog about how you handle crucial conversations and at what point you step in to have them. What advice would you give to a new administrator in having to have a crucial, or fierce, conversation?
Have a great week, and where ever you are, stay warm!
Resources used and for more information:
Crucial Conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
Crucial Accountability: Tools for Resolving Violated Expectations, Broken Commitments, and Bad Behavior
Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life, One Conversation at a Time
Critical Conversations for Dummies
Dr. Christina Schlachter
Schools play an important role in determining how involved parents are within our schools. What does your school do to solicit your parents? How much and in what different ways is information communicated through your teachers about the happenings throughout the building?
A New Wave of Evidence, a report from Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (2002) found that regardless of family income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to:
*Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs
*Be promoted, pass their classes, and earn credits
*Have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school
*Graduate and go on to postsecondary education (Henderson & Mapp, 2002)
Given that many parents only interpretation of school comes from their own past, it is important as a leader to communicate just how different education is today. The headlines certainly aren’t helping them understand our reality. There are amazing, life changing, DIFFERENT things that are happening within your walls…it’s up to you to make that understanding happen!
No longer is sending home a flyer in a brown envelope enough to solicit and encourage our families to be involved. There’s a variety of tools available that involve technology, social media, student creations all designed to communicate to our families. One of the first comments that is always shared when I talk about this is that “all of our parents don’t have computers”. In 2011, 75.6 percent of homes reported having a computer, with 71.7 percent accessed the internet. Statistics still vary across ethnicity, but the bottom line is that we are still making strides. By combining the technology resources we have available today and some of our “traditional practices” there’s no family we can’t reach.
We’re going to discuss several of them with two leaders who are on the forefront of connecting and involving parents, Joe Mazza and Tony Sinanis. Keep an eye out for that #SAVMP hangout to happen soon!
This week, I encourage you to blog or comment on the following:
What are you doing to encourage parent involvement?
How are you thinking out of the box to involve ALL of your families?
Have you encountered resistance to breaking away from the traditional strategies that parents may be used too?
Hope you have a GREAT week!
Instead of asking people to share in a blog post this week, I am hoping we can use this blog to start a comment thread to share some ideas in one space.
As a new principal, it was imperative that I started off right with my school or I could easily lose them right from the beginning. It takes a long time to build trust, but you can lose it an instant. With that being said, I spent time just observing the culture and listening to the ideas of others and trying to build on strengths. In my first year as an assistant principal, I got into a small argument on one of the first days with a strong teacher on our staff. I was actually very upset and looked poorly upon the person, but later when I reflected, I was much too pushy for coming into a new environment and didn’t listen as much as I needed to at that point. Two years later when I was promoted to principal at another school, I chose that very same teacher as my assistant principal.
There were lots of mistakes and learning along the way, but my focus as a principal was on learning the culture of the school as a whole, while also understanding individuals.
So I ask you, to share what are some important thoughts that you have on either starting at a new school, or starting a new year? What has been successful and what didn’t work? Please share your comments below.
Have a great week!