This little leadership tip has gotten me through many a tough situation, and it is SO SIMPLE! It is particularly useful during meetings or professional development sessions when you are alarmed by someone else’s thinking.
Imagine hearing this during a staff meeting:
“Those are the low kids so I really don’t see how they could even learn this.”
One leadership approach might be to address this misconception (or undesirable attitude) directly by challenging the teacher’s thought. “We don’t refer to students as ‘low kids’ here,” or, “I disagree; all students are capable of learning and it’s our job to help them get there.”
But I’ve found that this sentence is more effective at challenging the assumptions and statements that I find troublesome; “Interesting, tell me more.”
Try it out next time. It’s non-threatening. It invites rather than stifles dialogue. It gives you a chance to dig to the roots of what was said. And it puts the burden on the other person to realize the problems in what they are saying.