We receive some tremendous feedback for our courses and it’s always pleasing to see what a positive difference our work has made to people’s lives. However, we’ve delivered enough of this training to education professionals to see a consistent barrier to change – there is a reluctance to show any vulnerability or mistakes. There can be an unwillingness to share ideas, concerns and frustrations and even to answer very straight forward questions. When I probe, I hear comments about a fear of:
- "Being judged"
- "Getting it wrong"
- "Looking silly"
I find this really disheartening as from the very same course I received feedback saying the delivery was:
- "approachable, warm and funny"
- "made everyone feel comfy"
- "inclusive and encouraging"
With feedback like that why do I mind? In his book, Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni writes about the absence of trust as being the first dysfunction. Without this trust, or ability to show vulnerability, the team will limit its potential for success. Robert John Meehan is saying the same thing in the quote above. True collaboration requires trust and a shared objective. I am confident our teachers have a shared objective yet they are limiting their opportunities to achieve that by limiting the chance to truly collaborate.
We can contemplate what has happened to get to this stage (and I know there will be exceptions where it isn’t happening) but of more interest to me is how do we get out of it? How do we learn the power and benefit of putting our head above the parapet and taking a chance on someone or something? Schools all over the country are trying to instil the “I can’t do that yet” mindset and I don’t disagree, in principle, but do their teachers model that behaviour? Not very often on our courses.
Often when people are looking at their personal development they tell me they know they need to push themselves out of their comfort zone. I much prefer to think of it as working on the edge of it because often being right outside your comfort zone is terrifying and exhausting and, while you may get an adrenalin rush and sense of achievement after it, this isn’t a sustainable way to live daily.
Change takes time and effort so if we are to change the “being judged” mindset then we need consistent and persistent effort. Little steps often. I don’t believe for one moment that our schools are filled with people just waiting for the opportunity to judge a colleague but someone must take the first little step and keep taking it.
Let me know how you get on or if you want some help with your first little steps. firstname.lastname@example.org