#d100bloggerPD: Daring Greatly

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Chapter 6: 

Disruptive Engagement- Daring to Rehumanize Education and Work

     I really dislike bugs.  OK, I'll go so far as I hate bugs.  So, this comparison made me visualize something that I really would rather not see (termites).  Upon further reflection, I'd rather not see shame permeating a school culture, either.  Brené Brown knocked that one out of the park.

     As a school leader, she says that you should look for signs that shame has permeated your school (and, honestly, she claims that she has never found a shame-free school yet).  Blaming, gossiping, favoritism, name calling, harassment, bullying others, criticizing subordinates in front of colleagues, public reprimands, reward systems that intentionally belittle, and humiliating people are all signs that shame is present.  Adults to adults.  Adults to students.  It all counts.  

     How do you fix a shame problem when you see a shame problem?  Don't use shame.  Shaming someone who's using shame is not helpful, but doing NOTHING is equally as dangerous.  Being in a school where the culture allows us to talk about staff members, find excuses to not do something that is in the best interest of kids, or blame others for things that we can take ownership of undermines our work, even if we are just allowing others to do those behaviors and we just look on.  

     And who are these leaders she speaks of?

A leader is anyone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding potential in people and processes.  The term leader has nothing to do with position, status, or number of direct reports.  {Brené Brown} wrote this chapter for all of us- parents, teachers, community volunteers, and CEOs- anyone who is willing to dare greatly and lead.
     That means that we can ALL make a a difference in improving our culture, even if shame is present.  Even if fear and blame are driving the actions of others, we can work together as leaders to help rehumanize education.

     How can we do that?

     We can believe that we are good enough, even in a culture of never enough. 

     We can be champions of creativity, innovation, and learning.

     We can make sure that we don't cause "creativity scars" so that children continue to see their abilities as writers, artists, musicians, and dancers.

     We can be aware of the fact that blaming and finger-pointing are results of shame, and they are used to release our pain and hurt.  If we know that, perhaps we can stop the blame pattern.  

     We can help cultivate a culture where "behaviors and not tolerated and people are held accountable for protecting what matters most: human beings."

     We can give and receive honest, constructive, and engaged feedback.  This is the only way to get transformative change.  

     We need to normalize discomfort.  Growth and learning are uncomfortable.  Discomfort is normal.  

     We can be aware of situations that we tend to "armor up" and put up a protective shield.  We can also remember not to convince ourself that the other person deserves to be hurt or put down, because they don't.  

     We can give strength based feedback.  

     We can be aware of the fact that sometimes our reaction to a problem is NOT always equal to the size or severity of the problem.  We can't always help it, but we can be aware of it.

     We can be willing to be vulnerable.

     She ends with a quote by Seth Godin in Tribes: WE Need You to Lead Us:

Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead.  This scarcity makes leadership valuable...  It's uncomfortable to stand up in front of strangers.  It's uncomfortable to challenge the status quo.  It's uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle.  When you identify the discomfort, you've found the place where a leader is needed.  If you're not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it's almost certain that your not reaching your potential as a leader.

     I still remember the first time someone called me a leader, and it made me feel very uncomfortable.  I didn't want the title.  For at least 10 years I had been in leadership roles (team leader, core leader, mentor, PD provider, coach, etc.), but when I started working beyond my classroom, I didn't really see my potential to help create transformational change.   I actually made excuses as to why I couldn't "really" make change.  I would just suggest ideas to real leaders.  Then Jeremy Majeski told me I was a leader, even if I didn't believe it myself.  Nothing changed that day in my title, or my role, or my salary.  But, I changed.  Because if people were watching me lead, then I guess I had better be leading in a way that meant a lot to me.  This is a challenge I struggle with every day.

     I am not comfortable with leadership, and yet I still try my best for the teachers and kids in D100.  Even on days like today, when ice and winter and ice (did I mention ice?) cause me to retreat into shame and blame and fear and anxiety.  I'm trying.

     We all can be leaders.  We all ARE leaders.  As teachers, we have kids looking up to us every single day, whether we realize that or not.  We are leaders, and what we say and do matters.  It impacts our culture at a classroom and a school level, and spreads into our communities.  So, dare greatly and lead.


     The last post for this Daring Greatly #d100bloggerPD series goes live on Thursday on Kristin's blog.  Check it out!