By Natika Stewart
Folio members meet on Folio’s Mastermind Calls to discuss their work, suggest ideas and reflect on how to grow as educators and school leaders. The conversations are filled with compelling perspectives, resources for exploration, and insights about what works, what doesn’t, and ways to better inspire and support teachers.
Most recently, Mastermind Calls began with reflections on Folio Norms, the mindsets that when infused into day-to-day work, can spark growth and reflection. Consider how these guiding principles might fit into your work, your meetings and your schools.
Stay curious: Ask questions! Consider “what if…” or “how about…?” Harness the excitement of discovery you try to elicit from your students in all your meetings and conversations.
Listen to understand: If you’re thinking about what your response should be when someone else it talking, you’re not really listening. Focus on what is being said so you can make sure you fully grasp and appreciate what they say – and what they mean.
Acknowledge discomfort: Discomfort is natural in a conversation but it can help, rather than halt, progress. “Leaning in” to uncomfortable discussions and touchy subjects can build connections among participants, create a healthy, productive work environment, and lead to decisions and solutions that work for everyone.
Be here: We’ve all experienced it: thoughts about a recent conversation or a future obligation distract us. Our phones ring and ding. This sends the (accurate) message that you are not fully vested in the conversation. Commit to being in the moment and staying focused.
Include all voices: New, different and possibly-conflicting voices can enrich conversations and create meaningful dialogue. As you plan a meeting, ask who else should be around the table and what other perspectives are needed.
Try a new point of view: Before offering your perspective, pause. Consider the reaction or point of view of those who may feel differently than you do. Your statement might be better received if it recognizes those alternative views. It might lead to more significant compromise.
Share your experience and expertise: We all have strengths and unique experiences; a team willing to share, discuss and learn from them brings a new level of thoughtfulness to its work.
Have fun! It may sound simple or irrelevant, but positivity breeds positivity. Teams who enjoy their work and each other produce great results!