Tag: Communication

Words are real, Yolo

English Words That Changed Meanings over Time By 15 JUNE 2018 https://www.daytranslations.com/blog/english-words-changed-meanings/ A great look at a few words and how they have changed.

The English language is rich. The history of the language is fascinating to learn and understand. Historians and philosophers are protective in shielding changes to the words and meanings. How many new words are added to our language? How many are changed in their meaning? Do you think about who monitors our language? Who decides when a word becomes a “real” word? Who is in charge of creating the dictionaries we use?

Lots of questions! Listen to this TedTalk below from 2014, but still relevant to the topic. Do you have words you use today you did not use 10 or 20 years ago? Have you heard a new word? In the title, you probably thought I made a typo with my name Yoho. I typed Yolo instead. It was with a purpose, no typo. What does Yolo mean? Check the dictionary to verify, but I believe you will find the first meaning: you only live once. Great! You have learned a new word today! Yolo is a significant focus when you wake up each day to remember! I would not mind if you remembered Yoho too! It is a great name you can connect to being the solution daily!

Leadership Reset…No Way!

Watching the Open golf tournament with my husband and a player hits the ball, it makes it to the green, it rolls and hits the flag, denying a hole in one. What? Wait a minute. I call interference. That should count. My husband only laughs at me. It is no laughing matter; I am sure for the golfers or leaders when they realize they have made a big mistake.

Some mistakes we make are lessons we can learn from. I just posted a blog about helping students understand it is okay to make mistakes. However, when you make a mistake with character, there is no turning back.

When staff members do not trust their leaders, it causes big trouble! Let me restate that remark. When staff members have valid reasons that are proven not to trust their leaders, this is critical. When you reread these statements, significant differences between these two statements can be found. In some environments, you have toxic individuals who always look for trouble—explaining my first statement. Disruption in your building or organization will happen if these are not addressed. However, when a leader does not lead with character, this is critical to the structure and organization. Trust will be gone, and no growth will happen.

Some examples would be:

  • Leaders have taken credit for staff member’s work.
  • Throwing staff under the bus- blaming
  • Fabricating- Lying
  • Inauthenticity-changing when it seems like the best thing to do for themselves
  • Point out mistakes, belittle, criticize in front of others constantly
  • Playing favorites (everyone can see and hear the ones who get the most attention)
  • Ego driven leadership style
  • Lack of communication and transparency -Staff avoid conversations for fear of retaliation
  • Staff feel in the dark, neglected, and avoided

We are human, and we make mistakes. Recovery from breaking trust with staff is not a reset you can do. There are many things to do when you make a mistake staff will need to move forward. The first is to own it. Apologize for the mistake you made and explain the action steps you will take to correct and prevent it from happening again.

Leadership is like everything else in life. The more practice you have, the better it gets. To change anything, you need to start with, as Michael Jackson says, “The Man in the mirror.” To be politically correct, let’s say, person.

The Needs

When you wake up in the morning, the needs hit you right away! You have the need to get to the bathroom, find coffee, food of some kind, and find out the needs of the world around you!

If you have pets, children, spouses, or others in need of your attention, then you are already running late! It would help if you had been up hours ago, or maybe getting sleep is overrated. I was kidding!

I think you understand we live in a world where “the need” is at an all-time high. However, I believe need has been confused with some other words to make life harder for all of us.

A need is something to help provide a safe and healthy environment. We need clean air, water, land, food, clothes and safe environments in order to live. We may want to have the latest version of television, phone, gaming system, shoes from famous brands, and others wants. These wants and wishes are not essential to our health and well-being.

I, like many others, felt the loss of loved ones during the global pandemic. I did not feel the loss within my family, but distant relatives and friends. The needs of others were at an all-time high. We are so lucky to live in this country so needs could be met. Even then, it was not enough as we saw politics get in the way.

There is still a need and even bigger needs in our country. It is so important to look through all of the lenses to see the needs. When looking for solutions, you should always look at all viewpoints to fully understand.

One word echoes through clearly when we talk about addressing difficult topics…..the word is fear. Fear of the cancel culture, being labeled, having negative things said about you, and the list goes on. Well, I will tell you all of that can be true.

Assuming the responsibility of being a leader is a big job. If it were so great and easy, everyone would be one! I have been beaten up (not literally, although it felt like it) several times. Remember “the need.” Behavior is driven by need. Always start with why and what. Why are they?… What do they need?…

When you are faced with these situations it is easy to fall in line with similar behaviors of anger. Pause and remember not to take it personally (trust me, I know it is hard). There is always a reason behind the actions and reactions we take to situations we face. Everyone has a story.

I always like to reflect on words from Mother Teresa. She always provides me with the wisdom I “need.”

“See how nature-trees, flowers, grass-grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”~Mother Teresa

The world’s noise can be so loud we cannot hear the sounds of the needs calling from those so close to us. If we are quiet for a few moments, we can clearly hear the sounds coming from their hearts…the need! I hear the call, To be one nation under God. A desire to all live together in peace, harmony–equally in a safe and secure environment.

We have survived so much, won many battles, achieved so much, and have so much more to do together. Listen to the silent voices as they speak. Watch for the ways you can begin to help as you build trusting relationships. Leaders can be found in many places, not always with a title.

While you were working-

I get behind if you can believe that, on my emails and things I want to do. I miss webinars, chats, and podcasts. Thankful for the recordings so I can catch up eventually. This is the plan anyway! But I love getting this message While you were working (WYWW). I love the variety in the messages, exciting topics, and the things that make you think. In this posting, there is an article about performance pay. I found it so interesting.

As I drove to a medical appointment today, I noticed almost every business had “we are hiring signs” posted. During the global pandemic, many people lost jobs, local businesses closed, and companies shut their doors. However, today many places are looking for people to work. Are you working? Retired? Maybe you are thinking about a career change. No matter where you are, this resource serves you in the place you are. It is free!

The article about performance pay made me think about how employers use incentives to have people join their work teams. They have sign-on bonuses and other things to spark an interest. What do you look for when seeking a place to work? Please share your thoughts and experiences.

http://smartbrief.com/wyww/?referrerId=jSveoBzjCk

Let’s Debate

Do we see debates over issues? A debate is a discussion of opposing sides of a specific topic, subject, or issue. An example would be a discussion of the pros and cons of reopening schools after Covid-19. I think I have seen some…. At least they resemble debates.

We most likely would see debates in our legislative branches of government. Have you witnessed debates? I have listened carefully since engaging in researching this topic. We are looking for specific elements in each person pleading their reasoning for their point.

I believe one of the critical skills and elements needed to help children succeed in the future is being able to have essential conversations to debate their points successfully.

The emphasis on teaching children how to protest is misdirected, in my opinion. A focus on how to convince others of the position they have by making points grounded in evidence of value is where the teaching should be focused. Critical thinking skills, knowledge, and strong communication skills will serve all of us in the future with positive outcomes.

Hugo Mercier, in the following TED-Ed clip, explains how an argument can be more convincing when it contains these elements:

  • A good knowledge of your audience you are speaking to.
  • What are the beliefs of the audience?
  • Who and what the audience trusts?
  • What are the values of the audience?

These elements seem like a simple recipe for success. Understanding the audience’s beliefs, trusted sources, and values of others are not always easy for us. As we face an issue, problem or challenge, we do not go first to what we have learned about our audience; instead, we go to our own.

A recipe for success in facing a problem in need of solutions is always to listen first. We hear with more than our ears. To meet issues with debate, reasoning, and convincing rebuttals, we need to embrace all views. Our minds must be open to debate to appreciate and comprehend points different than our set of facts. We have to accept others’ points made convincingly as right and concede when our points are proven wrong.

Every voice has the right to be heard. Actions speak louder than words is often a statement made in high-tempered issues. These actions in no way have ever meant to cause suffering on others, violence, or prevent others from the freedoms granted in this country. Actions moved by the words of others should be in having positive outcomes in the efforts of change. An example would be:

“Today, the sun begins to rise for a new day. It is a chance for each of us to show a new way. To bring to the surface more issues to praise. The life we live changes with every season. Unexpected issues, diseases, challenges, and problems come with no reason. It is our actions, words, and true messages we send out that conveys-The point we try to make.”~Brenda Yoho

Please watch the TED link shared. It is an excellent segment to view. You can find more features to consider as you lead changes and growth in your field. Today is a great day to learn, reflect and lead. Thank you for being part of the solution daily!

Do you have a sense for solutions?

When we begin to discuss problems, solutions are not the first-word selection used to describe the next steps. Often a few sentences full of explanations, excuses, and finger-pointing or blame are used. When you try to make sense of issues you face, utilizing some of your senses is needed!

Our senses can help with many aspects of our problem-solving and solving issues before they develop into bigger ones. Can you think of a time you utilized your senses to find solutions?

One of my former bosses and mentors told me I was a good listener. As we discussed listening to stories of upset parents or others, we identified how vital listening was to these situations. Individuals needed to “see”; we were “hearing” them.

When you find yourself in a situation where an individual is upset and wants to explain their position, let them. Please provide them with your full attention and listen to them. As they finish, I have a statement I feel is the best way to begin your response. I have shared this with my staff and other leaders; the best way to start is: “I am sorry you feel that way.”

I am sorry you feel that way is a great way to begin. This does not admit blame or acceptance but validates the individual in front of you. You have demonstrated your willingness to listen; you validate them by making the statement, and you have calmed the environment with these steps. The tones are softened; you have touched the individual’s heart by providing full attention and time. Now the solutions can begin.

During the listening, you have taken notes of the content revealed. You can begin to help connect the dots as together you retell the story without high emotions, but with facts to help design a solution to the issue. Always reassuring, understanding and providing a solution helpful to all parties. Pay attention to unspoken language. Your senses help you recognize the needs others are not able to communicate. There is always, as I say, a “trigger” for all of us that flips on our anger.

Our senses provide us with the guidance we need. However, not everyone has all of the senses available to them. When this happens your senses naturally accelerate to compensate for the missing sense. Nature knows the significance of having these to support us in our journey. Our brain is our central control center, activating them.

I have shared before that I survived a near-death accident leaving me with lifelong injuries. I have a traumatic brain injury which leaves me without my sense of smell or taste and also a lack of emotion. There are more damages, but these are hard to accept. However, I have learned to accomodate. The brain is amazing so I do have periods where I may be able to smell an odor if it is strong, taste a very seasoned dish or feel a burst of joy. Never consistently.

My message is to be a leader with a heart. I am thankful each day for all the blessings before, during, and after my car crash. Use all of your resources available to you as you lead and serve. Thank you for being part of the solution daily.

Steps with Senses to Solutions

  • See- Identify the body language of the individual, have personal pictures, collections, or special items identifying yourself
  • Hear- Listen to the individual with full attention.
  • Smell- Utilizing our ability to help reduce stress, provide an environment of comfort, or to keep the area your meeting odor-free for safety. (Fresh flowers as an example)
  • Taste- Candy bowls, other treats, water. Consider having something to offer.
  • Touch- Stress balls, gadgets to hold and move, any items to help with various textures. (clay, sponge, etc.)

In addition to the items above, my office stocked pens, journals, snacks, and anything I found to add! Your office or meeting area should bring out the senses in everyone!

I hope I helped in making sense to solutions using senses.

Message received

Every day, we receive messages from others in many different ways. We also send messages in various ways as well. Managing all of these communications can be overwhelming, but we can also mishandle messages.

What we say, the body language we use, and the tones used to send messages to others. I know for myself, my facial expressions can tell you precisely what I am thinking. At least, that is what I have been told.

All of us enjoyed the treats brought in for our “Feast Friday” in the staff lounge as we were placing more plates and food out, in walks, Lauren.

“I can’t believe we still have her as our Principal. She is the worse we have ever had. She left a note on my desk saying she had been in to check out lesson plans and could not find mine. I am hoping to stop back later today to see them. Really? Doesn’t she have better things to do?”

“I am with you, Lauren; I got one of those little notes too! I am tired of being checked on.”

“I don’t like it either.” “Anyone else has anything to say?”

I left the staff room without saying a word but felt awful. I loved our Principal, and this little negative group was saying horrible things. They should not be doing this. I hate to see them coming. I was a new person on staff, and I just wanted to fit in, but I was having a hard time. I did not know what to do about the “TNT club” (Teachers in Tenure club).

I found the courage to go to speak with the principal about the situation. I explained how everyone contributed to a negative conversation about her, and I did not say anything. I finally left the room.

“I see, ” she says. “You are telling me you stayed and did not say anything to anyone, then left the room.”

“Yes, I did not say anything and left.”

“Oh, but you did say plenty.”

“What, I did not say anything.”

“By not saying anything, you spoke volumes to them. They believe you agree with them.”

Wow, this is a lesson I shared with others every chance I could. I included it with the students. If someone is making fun of someone and you do not say anything to get it to stop, then you are part of the problem as well. Standing by and allowing “bad” things to happen without saying something is a problem.

There is so much to learn about messages. What messages are we sending to others? A great book to read is Kids Deserve It! by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome. In their book, they have this question: “What if we looked for solutions instead of complaining about what’s wrong?” It speaks to me, how about you?

Talk to others to understand how they feel about the messages being sent? A friend of our family often says, “I was transmitting when I should have been receiving.” Listen to hear what is needed. Then take action.

Thank you for being part of the solution daily! After all, Kids Deserve It!

Timing Tuesday- When do you communicate negative news?

When do you call home, send a note home to report negative concerns? When do you send report cards home? How do you communicate negative concerns? What do people say about your communications?

Communication is essential. It must be timely and accurate. Keeping others informed is critical in maintaining a focus on improvement. Feedback ensures everyone is aware of where we are in our progression as we continue efforts to prioritize mastery of standards and success for all.

Schools are reporting out failing grades, students falling behind, and learning loss due to the disruption in education caused by the global pandemic. As an educator for decades, we have reported failing grades before the pandemic and learning loss. It may not be at the magnitude of the reported levels, but we had negative reports.

A recently published research study in JAMA, the Journal American Medical Association, stated a concerning connection between negative news and child abuse increases. “The study compared reported incidents of child abuse to state child welfare agencies to the days of the week when report cards are sent home. Examination of almost 2,000 cases indicated that on Saturdays following Friday distribution of report cards, reports of child abuse jumped fourfold compared to reported incidents following the release of report cards on other days of the week.”

The study was conducted before the pandemic. Individuals are dealing with more stress now than prior to the pandemic. We can understand, children have experienced traumatic events, and this pandemic has created more. Therefore, we must look at our communications.

We want to communicate, but negative communication can have negative impacts. The answer is in our timing, the approach, and our action steps. We may not avoid all of the adverse reports in our communication, but we can utilize the distribution timing data. We can provide positive action steps, supports, and alternative solutions to prevent possible abuse. One of our responsibilities is to watch for signs of abuse and report. It is also part of being the solution to maintain open communication with families and students. Build relationships to prevent possible abuse, identify warning signs and provide support to those we serve.

Communicate often! Frame your communications to provide the whole picture and seek out the support of families. Aren’t we all trying to do what is best for the children? I learned an important lesson from one of my parents I worked with early in my career. She told me, “We think you all think you are better than us and know-how to be better parents than us. I know we ain’t got much, but we love our kids, and we want what is best and don’t want anyone messing with them. So don’t tell us how to be a parent.” I took that conversation and remembered it! As I lead several different groups, my statements always included, we do not need to tell people how to be parents, extend our hands to support, ears to listen, and our voice to provide possible solutions and resources. Tell parents how much we love their children! Thank them for sharing them with us.

One of the ideas I love to share with others is my philosophy of the whole child in students leading their learning. I was Assistant Principal, and my team created a Home, School, Student contract. We would set goals, monitor progress, and report back according to the plan. We would take a picture of the student working in the classroom and send a good message to the family. Thank you for sharing the Name of the Child with us! Our partnership is paying off! He/She is working hard in the name of the class. Mail it home or email.

Thank you for being the solution daily! Remember, I am not selling anything, so do not be afraid to ask, share or request. I am here to help you as you work with our most excellent resource, children

Reference for this post come from: Bright, M. A., Lynne, S. D., Masyn, K. E., Waldman, M. R., Graber, J., & Alexander, R. (2018). Association of Friday school report card release with Saturday incidence rates of agency-verified physical child abuse. JAMA Pediatrics, 173(2), pp. 176-182. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4346

Wednesday Words, they matter!

#Bethesolutiondaily

I want to give you a peace of mind. No, not a piece of mind! Words and their usage can be confusing. When you add-in tone, body language and biases, then it rises to a deeper level.

Language used in any setting influences those who are receiving the communication. They can recognize the power in the words from the tone, word choice, body language combined with the individual’s position.

Teachers in a class setting can influence the learners they serve in many ways: the actions, tones, and word choices. Students’ identities as learners are influenced by the power the learner gives to the teacher. Student demeanor, engagement, and outlook can change based on the language used by the teacher. There will always be exceptions and variables, but our responsibility is to set the standard high for communication to be at a level of positivity.

Knowing the responsibility, we have placed on the teaching staff to build relationships with students and families and focusing on the language of positivity. We as leaders need to do the same. How does our language help feed our staff with the fuel they need to feedback to their students as they work to feed up?

In my previous blogs I have talked about communication. Think about the last communication you had with staff? Was it a memo? An evaluation discussion? How about an email or text? What about that social media post?

I hope you are able to reflect and look at all of your forms of communication to see how others may feel, react, respond and react to your communications. Now think about communications you receive. Ask yourself the same questions. Language, words spoken, words heard, body and tone all play essential parts in our communication.

I am a firm believer in teaching vocabulary to students. Utilize positive talk for a supportive and encouraging climate. As an evaluator, it is essential to provide feedback vital to improvement. Feedback that feeds the moral, provides guidance and self-worth.

I am providing some links to additional articles from ASCD to continue your look at language. In addition, Larry Bell provided many years ago 12 powerful words students should know in order to understand questions on assessments. Vocabulary is essential for students. We will look at that topic more on a future blog.

My final piece is a poem by Charles Osgood. How many times have we responded to a question with “pretty good”? Words matter! Be careful not to settle for “pretty good.”

Resources@bethesolutiondaily

https://www.larry-bell.com 12 powerful words

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept08/vol66/num01/The-Power-of-Our-Words.aspx

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb14/vol71/num05/Words-That-Encourage.aspx

Pretty Good by Charles Osgood

There once was a pretty good student
Who sat in a pretty good class
And was taught by a pretty good teacher
Who always let pretty good pass.
He wasn’t terrific at reading,
He wasn’t a whiz-bang at math,
But for him, education was leading
Straight down a pretty good path.
He didn’t find school too exciting,
But he wanted to do pretty well,
And he did have some trouble with writing
Since nobody taught him to spell.
When doing arithmetic problems,
Pretty good was regarded as fine.
5+5 needn’t always add up to be 10;
A pretty good answer was 9.
The pretty good class that he sat in
Was part of a pretty good school,
And the student was not an exception:
On the contrary, he was the rule.
The pretty good school that he went to
Was there in a pretty good town,
And nobody there seemed to notice
He could not tell a verb from a noun.
The pretty good student in fact was
Part of a pretty good mob.
And the first time he knew what he lacked was
When he looked for a pretty good job.
It was then, when he sought a position,
He discovered that life could be tough,
And he soon had a sneaking suspicion
Pretty good might not be good enough.
The pretty good town in our story
Was part of a pretty good state
Which had pretty good aspirations
And prayed for a pretty good fate.
There once was a pretty good nation
Pretty proud of the greatness it had,
Which learned much too late,
If you want to be great,
Pretty good is, in fact, pretty bad.