This week (8/5/14 to be exact), I took the opportunity to make an appointment and sit and chat with him for a bit. It was a beneficial visit and many things we talked about I'm still marinating on, but here are a couple key points I walked away with:
Hard conversations are just that: hard! This was a great revisit of the book Crucial Conversations between the two of us. These are conversations that no one enjoys, but you get better as you have them more. It is important to remember:
- the earlier the better - I equate it to a band aid in some respects
- better for everyone - the other person knows where they stand and what needs to be done and you don't have the nagging feelings, anxiety, stress, pressure, etc. of that interaction hanging over your head. I can say with 100% confidence, the doomsday scenario I usually have in my head regarding how the conversation will play out has NEVER happened.
- you avoid later consequences - putting things off only makes it worse.
- prepare for the possible questions/what if's - many times why we avoid the conversations because we don't have all the answers. It is great practice to prepare for the "what if's" you can think of then be OK with not having all the answers right away. These interactions are not different in the respect of, if you don't have an answer, leave it as something to follow up on when an answer is found!
Our conversation reminded me of the importance of proactive, positive deposits (PPDs). PPDs are certainly the happy pats on the back and the "good job's!", but in the context of working with teachers, parents and students, they are also the informal conversations and reminders before the formal "stuff" begins. PPDs are the platform and foundation should make a hard conversation most beneficial and that may (not always) make the hard conversations more pleasant.
He's planning to make the visits again this year (our campus is on his way to the admin building), so I look forward to sharing more with you!