The Best Advice
During my years in Education I have been mentored by the very best. I have also been like a sponge, determined to learn from the best and apply the ideas in my own practice as a leader.
I have been given a lot of advice over the years, and I use a lot of it on a daily basis.
Recently I was asked what my three best pieces of advice were.
Now, I could write a book about the best advice I've been given, so I had to think really hard about it. In the end I decided to run with the three I use the most.
This is what I shared...
1. If In Doubt - Leave it Out
This phrase has gone through my mind more times than I can count.
These 6 words have saved me on many occasions.
It's the phrase I run through my mind when;
It's on the tip of my tongue to tell someone something I've heard
I go to say something to someone and I'm not 100% sure if I should
I write an email and stop before I hit send, second guessing a sentence
I go to share something with the whole staff and wonder if it's too soon
I'm having a conversation with a parent and I go to say something and then wonder if I'll regret it
I'm in a meeting and I want to contribute something to the conversation, but hesitate
It's intuition kicking in and I now recognise it as this. If I have so much as a smidgen of doubt, I stop and I leave it out.
I listen to this nudge and it never lets me down.
If ever I'm in doubt - I always leave it out.
2. Tell It Like It Is
Telling the accurate version of an event, incident or conversation goes a long way towards people trusting you in the workplace.
Make an effort not to minimise or down play something to avoid upsetting a colleague. For example, a parent makes a complaint about a teacher and you need to address it with the teacher. Tell it as the parent told it to you.
As hard and uncomfortable as it may be, it's important to relay it as accurately as possible.
At the other end, don't exaggerate either - people have a radar for BS. You'll quickly lose people's trust if you embellish a story. If you exaggerate in one instance, what else do you exaggerate?
Telling it like it is will strengthen your integrity in the workplace.
People need to be able to rely on you to tell the truth, especially if you are leading a team.
People may not like what they hear, but they will respect you for being honest.
Be kind, be honest, be accurate.
3. Listening with Compassion
I learnt this skill from a leader that listened very well to parents. I observed her, listened to her and watched the powerful impact it had.
I'm not talking about surface level listening, I'm talking about really investing time into listening to what someone is saying with your full attention, empathy and compassion.
I've witnessed some very angry, aggressive parents come in over the years arriving very upset and I've watched them leave smiling and feeling much better than when they arrived.
According to Carnegie ' The power of listening is the power to change hearts and minds. More consequentially, it is the power of giving people what they most desire - to be heard and understood.' (How To Win Friends and Influence People) How awesome is that quote!
The simple skill of allowing someone the space to share, diffuses so many upsets. Coupled with genuine empathy and a commitment to improve the situation, it is a winning formula.