Google+ Badge

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

In the Face of Troubling Circumstances, Speak Up Early and Often

When troubling issues arise, speak up early and often.

An early respectful focus on troubling issues typically allows a ready, reasonable response--a response that rectifies the issue before it turns into a too-big, too-troubling, confusing issue.

Years ago I let an issue fester and as you might imagine, it blew up. I was afraid to speak up right away with persistence, detail, and evidence. That was a mistake.

With respect to our government today, I wonder what the discourse would be like if people in the know had spoken up earlier about Russia's influence on the election--perhaps we wouldn't be in the mess we're in right now.

As I think about my work as an educator, the same is true. When we witness troubling behaviors and actions, it's best to speak up right away and deal with the issue rather than let it develop over time--we have to trust our instincts, and when we think there's trouble, we need to investigate.

With family members, we often say, no question is too small. We encourage parents to speak up sooner than later and try to share information with plenty of lead time in case there's a concern or need for change or clarity.

The key to speaking up early and often is to use respect and sometimes humor is also appropriate in situations like this. In most cases, there is no ill intent, but instead a lack of understanding or clear perspective.

To better what we do, speak up early and often with care, respect, dignity, and responsibility--that kind of solutions-oriented action will replace regrets and set our efforts in positive directions.