I just read this post by my friend George Couros, and I would like to share his thoughts here. George arranged a workshop for school leaders at my school many years ago, and I have had the pleasure of watching him keynote several times. The workshop was in 2013, and a lot has changed since then. I like to think that we were ahead of our time, and it reminds me that we should still strive to learn more. George always has the insight to share important issues, and his talks always have me thinking about what I can change as a school leader. This article challenges how we approach new ideas and how we react. I think he nails it when he challenges the audience to speak out there and then, instead of complaining to colleagues afterward. That is a good takeaway for any leaders, particularly in school. When presenting new ideas, you are bound to be challenged, and perhaps your ideas were not that good, to begin with. The clue is to work together to find the best solutions. Sometimes practice makes perfect. Here are his reasons to encourage people to challenge him after a keynote
“If you are in a leadership position within education and aren’t open to being challenged, then you aren’t open to the growth of yourself or the organization you lead.”
— George Couros (@gcouros) December 14, 2022
1. It is essential to model that challenging ideas are crucial to the growth of any organization.
If you are in a leadership position within education and aren’t open to being challenged, then you aren’t open to the growth of yourself or the organization you lead. Being challenged doesn’t mean you agree with the challenge or even change your position, but it exemplifies that you are open to learning from those you serve. This was my mantra as an administrator. I don’t care if we move forward with my idea or your idea; all I care about is that we move forward with the best idea, no matter where it comes from.
Challenging thinking and doing is essential to growth.
2. My idea might not be wrong, but how I articulate my thinking might be an issue.
Encouraging people to challenge what we share allows us sometimes to refine or even redefine our ideas. I have learned that delivery is often as important, if not sometimes more so than the message itself.
3. The challenge from one is often the unsaid barrier for many.
Not everyone is comfortable pushing back on thinking, but sometimes, someone is, and they become a voice for others. The way I look at that situation is that I am thankful someone shares the “pushback” so I can address it in a way that may be addressing a concern for many.
It is impossible to deal with a concern if you don’t know what it is.
4. Wrestling and openly struggling with ideas is essential in learning.
If we can’t defend our ideas, maybe they aren’t that good?
Modeling civil discussions where people do not necessarily agree but are working together to find a solution to help our students and colleagues is more critical than ever.