In response to E. Don Brown’s post on finding middle ground, a reader writes:
“As a leader, I realize I have made a mistake (actually, many). I am passionate about my beliefs and philosophy. I am 100% about kids all the time. However, I have allowed those to become part of my identity as a person. Therefore, any attack or resistance to systems and plans are by definition an attack on my image, style and strategy. By allowing this to occur, I have set myself up for failure. My intent is to apply these new lessons learned in the upcoming school year:
1. When I deal with an insubordinate teacher, I will take the time to reinterpret the situation. “Followers” will do what you say, because you say so. People with innate leadership characteristics will question you. It’s not personal, so I can’t take it that way.
2. People are generally not against you, they are merely for themselves. If you mess up in point #1 above, however, they will likely be against you.
3. I must out-communicate the dissenting voices.”
Failure is not a bad thing if you learn from it. When you meet educators that have never failed, either they are not very self-aware, they have never purposely put themselves in a difficult situation, or they work in a setting with low expectations. I know when I meet with new school leaders and I quickly provide them with a solution they have been searching for, I have to explain the following truth (even though it hurts a little). I tell them, “Don’t be too impressed. You get the solution that was 15 years in the making. You don’t have to deal with the string of failures that led to this answer.”
Remember the 3 F Rule: Fail forward faster!
Think. Work. Achieve.