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Friday, March 10, 2017

Listen and Observe Before Deciding

Over my career there's been many times when I've jumped to a conclusion without making sufficient time for observation, listening, and interaction.

For example, a student, parent, administrator or colleague may provide evidence of a situation in an attempt to convince you to make a particular decision. With a desire to please, I've jumped ahead and agreed with the conclusion right away only to find, after greater listening, observation, and time, that the conclusion was ill directed.

This has not happened often, but in each case, I found myself wishing I had simply listened carefully and responded with a comment such as, "Thank you for that information, I'll keep that in mind as I work with your child, that situation, or this idea."

How shall I work with this in the future?

First, it's important to listen to all stakeholders and hear what they have to say. I work with amazing students, parents, colleagues, and administrators who have substantial experience, knowledge, and commitment--they know what they're doing.

Next, it's important to do your best with the charge at hand using the stakeholder's comments, requests, and needs to guide your work in part.

After that, it's essential to keep the conversation going with regard to the point made. Comments such as "You suggested this, but I'm noticing this--what do you think?" can help. That starts to move us towards using past information and observation with new information to chart a positive path in situations.

I want to think more about situations like this that occur each year and how I can be mindful of these situations from the start of the year on.