People come with baggage. Past experiences shape who they are: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some people take life’s events in stride while others break down and reach their limits. A person’s outlook can affect how they handle life’s curveballs.
As leaders, we are going to be thrown many curveballs. Demands and pressures from a variety of arenas will press down on us and we need to examine how we will approach these situations. The education field is ever evolving and we will be the ones disseminating the information/ changes to our followers. How we approach this task is up to us, with a glass half full mentality being the operative mindset.
The Chicago Tribune recently wrote an article titled “A positive mental attitude benefits health, longevity and quality of life”. It references an example of a seventy year old with balance issues and how he copes with it: give up and succumb to your limitations or find a solution to manage and possibly overcome your issues? This example aligns with a successful leadership philosophy. In a school setting, you will come across many teachers, parents, and students who feel defeated. As a leader, you can help bring about that positive outlook and rally the stakeholders involved.
If you have teachers who have given up because they feel like no one appreciates their efforts, provide those incentives that boosts their morale. Jeans Days, providing class coverage so teachers can have an extended lunch time, etc. can change teachers’ attitudes. Parents who have a negative outlook regarding their child’s education can also be swayed to change. Providing opportunities for parents to become involved in the classroom, having a variety of enrichment classes after school, or hosting relevant discussions during a principal’s coffee may be all that’s needed to turn those parents around. Students who have shut down because they don’t feel successful may benefit from pairing up with a buddy to feel like they have someone to confide in or having lunch once a week with a favorite teacher could be the solution that makes those children feel empowered. Even the smallest gesture can make a positive impact.
There are leaders who may see the negativity in their followers and instead of boosting them up to align the followers’ visions with theirs, they either write off those followers and forge ahead without them or ridicule them without trying to bring about a positive change. Therein lies the mistake: by adopting either of those mindsets, the leader has essentially taken on the glass half empty mentality. They have already given up on those who are integral in the leader’s success which will ultimately result in failure for the leader because they have lost their core audience. It is not only important for the leaders to have the glass half full mentality, but also the leader’s followers.