Two things you should never do when it comes to public conversation

Getting pushed and pulled by politically charged conversations that are happening in your community?

It’s tough and it happens everywhere. Public schools often find themselves in the middle. It is a position no school leader seeks or relishes. At the end of the day, schools are in the business of education yet loud and larger public conversations can distract from the work.

How do you steer clear and stay focused on the business of education? Well, sometimes we have to talk about what not to do:

  • Don’t take it personally. The public conversations that are happening right now are not about you. They are about larger public issues and it is not up to schools to solve them. Taking it personally will only lead to an emotional response. That’s not the response that is needed. Let cooler heads prevail and take the 30,000 foot view of the situation. Stay focused.
  • Don’t ignore the conversation that is taking place or assume that it will “just go away.” Listen and really hear people. Remedy what you can. Someone once told me that “people can forgive or accept anything as long as they know you care.” So show you care by taking the time to listen and hear people. It does not mean that everyone walks away getting what they want. But that should cycle you back to the #1 above: Don’t take it personally.

Being a leader means listening and handling tough conversations. Navigating this requires constant open and transparent communications. It also requires that you be the best version of yourself each day. Steer clear of these two don’ts and you will be on your way to starting to honor the public conversation – and yourself — more.

This is the work we do each day. Helping superintendents reach and dialogue with their public. Contact us for more information on how we can help support you and your school system.

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