Listening: My Key to Growth in 2018

January 4, 2018

 "Speak in such a way that people want to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you." 

 

I'm a problem solver. It's both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because it allows me to think outside of the box, pulling from a plethora of divergent ideas to think up new solutions. It's a curse, because sometimes people don't want you to solve their problems. Sometimes they just want someone to listen.

 

Einstein said he spent 95% of the time studying a problem, and only 5% trying to find a solution.

 

I want to be more like Einstein.

 

As leaders, we have thousands of decisions to make every day. How to respond to the angry parent? How do deal with a disruptive student on an IEP? How to support a struggling teacher? How to manage a dwindling budget? How to structure PD so that it is most beneficial to our constituents? 

 

But what I have realized is that most of these issues are not problems needing to be solved. They are concerns needing to be understood.

 

For every quick decision I make on the above issue, there are at least a dozen more I have to make if I have not made the right one.

 

Most of the times, I could have solved the problem simply by listening- not to reply and offer a solution, but to understand!

 

So far I have already reaped the benefits of my new 2018 focus.

 

An uber driver talked to me for 25 minutes on the way to the airport about his life goals and thanked me for encouraging him (I didn't say a word).

 

My host at the recent AirBnb in Portland spoke to me about his coaching business for an hour and at the end decided to run a training session that night with one of his clients. 

 

I had four friends randomly reach out to me during the day to tell me about their new career goals. 

 

Keep in mind, this is only DAY ONE! 

 

I want to be an equally effective listener on my school campus. I want to model calm, composure, and confidence. 

 

I want staff members and students to solve and better understand their own problems. After all, it is them who live with them daily. 

 

Ok, done talking now. Time to go #LISTEN. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kyle Wagner
School Transformation and Project- Based Learning Coach

I coach school leaders on how to lead change and improve student learning through simple, innovative srategies and teaming structures.

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