Happy second Monday of October 2012 to all of you. My focus for this Monday moanin is about the impact of making assumptions and how it can effect your leadership and in some cases hurt relationships. In his book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz writes about making assumptions. In describing this agreement, he encourages leaders to not make them. You can become a better leader and person if you:
“Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.”
If we make the commitment to this agreement, we will enhance our lives and performance. In addition, there are other examples and experiences that reinforce this agreement.
Recently, I had a friend tell me about an experience he had at his son’s schools curriculum night. Throughout the evening during classroom visits, he took notes on his iPhone about the teachers presentations and content. The next day at school, his son was approached by a teacher who commented on how shocked he was that his dad was texting during his presentation. My friends son told the teacher that his dad wasn’t texting but taking notes during the class presentations. In fact, his dad discussed the notes with him when he got home that evening. My friend was hurt and offended by this assumption. My friend also shared with me that at the end of this class period, he had a positive conversation with the teacher. Ruiz would suggest that the teacher could have checked his assumption out by communicating clearly with my friend. Instead there was avoidance and even worse he involved a third party (my friend’s son) in the conversation. By making this assumption, the teacher formed an inaccurate opinion of my friend.
In education today, more than ever we need to all be aware of the messages we are sending. The assumption made by the teacher has made my friend critical and angry. He has a negative opinion about this teacher and the school. He is upset and will be addressing his feelings with the teacher at the upcoming parent conferences. This certainly is an issue that could have been avoided.
By the way, besides violating one of the four agreements, why would a teacher in the 21st century not be aware of the note taking application on a Smartphone? Does the teacher have an outdated policy of no electronic devices in class? I think it is safe to assume that this staff member will not be promoting Anytime Anywhere learning strategies or a bring your own device (BYOD) school policy anytime soon. Time for him and all of us to get to work!
Have a great week , don’t make assumptions, communicate clearly, and find the good stuff!