I was deeply saddened to hear of the discourse among several of our legislators last week. It also saddens me that more and more people will do and say anything that advances their own agenda. It saddens me most that some people only have the tool of bullying to combat others who disagree with them.

We live in a world with so much information that finding tons of data and archived rhetoric to support our own view is quite easy. So many times, we only give our attention to what aligns with our thinking…what we want to hear. Just like we check our bank balances more often when we think we are doing well financially, and just like we check the bathroom scale more often when we think we are losing weight, confirmation bias has a hold on so many people who desperately need to be right.

We need to listen…

A thought leader for me during this time in my leadership journey is Brene Brown. I love her take on the power of vulnerability and how a good team “rumbles” to get it right. When describing a rumble, she says we should “…listen with the same passion in which we want to be heard.” Why are so many people offended by listening to viewpoints that differ from theirs?

We should listen…

At the end of the day, we can still disagree with one another; but, at the least we should work hard to try to understand others’ perspectives. Steven Covey said: “Seek first to understand; then to be understood.” Empathy and understanding can be powerful adversaries in knowing what is the right thing to do, especially when you are leading others.

We must listen…

If we wish to spend time in the leadership arena, we must do so with our whole hearts and minds. We can’t be afraid to rumble and we must allow all voices to be heard. We are only able to lead to the best of our abilities when we listen. While agreement is almost always the goal, that is not always the outcome.  If you have all of this figured out…the discourse in many areas of our society…then you are way ahead of me. All I know is that discernment can only occur when we listen, reflect, engage, and listen again. It’s just…right.

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I am a proud public school teacher who serves as a district administrator supporting all aspects of leadership and learning.

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