I am often asked how I choose my topics to write about for my blog. It varies, some topics are suggested by colleagues, others are sparked through a twitter chat or some other form of PD I attend. Today’s topic is one I can’t seem to avoid lately both in my personal and professional circles….it is all about perspective friends!
After almost a week (thank you snow day) of nothing but time with family and friends I began to chuckle at other’s perspectives when experiencing the same situation as I. Now please don’t get me wrong here, I am in no way, shape, or form saying that my perspective is always accurate, rather it interests me that two people can experience the same moment or conversation vastly different.
A few weeks ago, I attended a Collective Efficacy seminar which focused on perspective and working collaboratively. During this seminar we were asked to view several different pictures that had more than one thing you could see when you looked at them through different perspectives, here are a few examples for you to try out for fun…what do you see?
This activity showed us that there are multiple ways to view an experience and we need to approach scenarios with an open mind. This can be applied to many scenarios: two students can receive the exact same lesson with one student needing more support to master the concept while the other student is ready to move on and work independently. As a principal I encountered differing perspectives everywhere I turned, from a fight on the playground between friends to colleagues passionately discussing the scope and sequence of their reading curriculum, different backgrounds, priorities and prior life experiences impact the way we experience life and react to it.
As a leader you need to be able to see through multiple lens, have empathy and support others in what they are going through. I was blessed to have little life experience prior to me being a principal which sometimes made it difficult for me to authentically see other’s perspective…life was more black and white for me back then. Unfortunately for me, I have had a lifetime’s worth of life experience over the past few years. Although this has been difficult I know without a doubt I am a better leader now than I was in the past. Not only have I changed my perspective in life, but also with how I interact and lead others. When I interact with others whether it is children, adults, family, colleagues, etc. I try to first understand their perspective, relate to why they feel the way they do then work towards finding a commonality we can proceed with – this has been invaluable as a human and leader.
My biggest suggestion to others in leadership roles would be this: Don’t respond, reflect. Reflect on what is being discussed, body language, prior experiences. This has made a world of difference in my life and I hope it can assist you as well!
Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning