The other day I was working with a team of early childhood leaders on a mission to provide more inclusive educational opportunities for the children in their community. As you might imagine, they often face resistance, skepticism, criticism, and on a good day, a healthy dosage of apathy.
What’s a team to do?
They would love an “open mic” meeting…but don’t want it to spin out of control. They want productive conversations, not just time spent “admiring the problem”. They want to be empathetic to staff fears and concerns, but they also want to see a change.
Again, what’s a team to do?
Here’s what will help!
Start with challenging your mindset (beliefs, values, ideas)
- What are the core beliefs and values guiding your decisions?
- What is your dream/ideal vision?
- What shark music is playing in the background?
- Are you riding the red train?
Shift your actions that are fueled by your mindset
- Are you telling, showing, or inviting others to “see the light?”
- Do you have the shark music turned down or are you swimming with them?
- Are you responding with situational awareness gained through reflection or reacting because you are stuck in rumination?
- Are you leading with compassion, hope, and being your true self or are you focusing on compliance, standardization, rules, and fear?
Commit to the green zone
- Reduce stressors and address needs for safety, satisfaction, and connection
- Evoke the positive emotional attractor (“need three PEAs for every NEA event”)
- Find the “both-and” whenever possible, vs. the tension of “either-or”
- Always consider what WILL NOT change. What can they hold onto for continuity?
- Be able to answer, “Why does the change matter? How is it in service of the common/shared vision?“
Are you still reading and thinking, “Yeah but you don’t know my staff!”
Change isn’t easy, but it is possible….especially with you as their leader~
Here are the five steps successful leaders take to achieve intentional change:
- Describe the ideal program (who, what, when, how, why)
- Examine where the program is currently (including having conversations about what is working)
- Identify the gaps between the ideal program and the current program
- Build upon strengths, leverage resources, and reduce stressors to make room for new mindsets and actions
- Practice and support new mindsets and actions within the context of strong relationships (i.e., through resonant leadership)
What do you think?
Which of these solutions will help you achieve kinder, more equitable, and more inclusive schools?
NOTE: Five steps adapted from Smith, Melvin & Van Oosten, Ellen & Boyatzis, Richard. (2009). Coaching for sustained desired change. Research in Organizational Change and Development. 17. 145-173. 10.1108/S0897-3016(2009)0000017006.