With that in mind, here are 5 Essentials to Relationships in Education:
Be ready to listen. Whether in education or in joys of matrimony, the most successful relationships are fostered on the notion that both parties are engaged in listening to each other. I often hear from educators that when relationships fail it is in large part to someone not being quiet enough to hear what the other person is saying. Even I have been at fault for this. Therefore, I am very aware of my skill of listening and take note of when my lips are moving versus my ears being attuned to the conversation in front of me.
Act on others ideas. All relationships need some sort of action. Going through the motions creates a mundane and stagnant setting for your educational environment. While engaged in the relationships you have with others be prepared to take your ideas and act on them. Greatness happens when you move yourself off the sideline and get into the game. In relationships, act on your colleagues ideas and implement the strategies and suggestions brought to the table.
Stand corrected. For many, we despise the notion that often times we are wrong. In relationships it is painfully difficult to admit when we have fallen from the grace of being accurate. However, the reality is that the entire platform of the educational setting relies on us admitting our faults, owning our mistakes and being informed of when we need to stand corrected. Great leaders (teachers and administrators) know how to embrace the art of failure and use it as a moment to capture growth. Standing corrected embodies the notion of "yet". We learn from doing this simple act of capturing our falls and picking ourselves up. Even if that means we needs others to help us.
Change happens. Not all relationships will remain intact over time. Relationships ebb and flow in every sense of the word. Some relationships will stand the test of time while others fade. If you have invested yourself in the interaction with others then don't consume yourself if things don't stay harmonious. Knowing when to become fully invested versus realizing the reality of your interaction is a craft that you have to work on. Change in relationships is due to happen. That is nothing to be afraid of, yet instead something to be aware of.
Sacrifice. Any successful relationship requires sacrifice. Whether that means putting your own ideas and thoughts on the back burner, stepping back from opportunity or simply allowing others to lead, relationships require us to allow others to be successful in spite of our own ambitions. Sacrifice speaks specifically to leaders. The most talented of leaders know when to allow the spotlight to shine on the relationships they keep. Sacrificing yourself for the good of the organization is essential to success.
As you think through the relationships you keep, I challenge you to think of "we" and not "me". How many times do you jump into a conversation and before you know it the topic has shifted to being about you and not us? It happens, even to the best. Therefore, keep in mind these 5 Essentials to Relationships in Education and apply the spirit and meaning of each. Then, watch those very relationships catapult you and the work of the organization to new heights.