Thursday, 14 May 2009

I have been quiet for far too long on this blog and am still wondering why. However, I came across the following in my colleague Chris Edwards' blog today and found it inspirational:

Bringing out the best in people – in your family, at your school and at your work – is largely determined by the language we use about them and by how much we encourage individual creativity and responsibility... If we want to bring out the best in the people we live with and work with we need to trust them, empower them, engage them, encourage them and celebrate everything they do well. Everywhere we look at the moment ‘the language of blame’ governs relationships, making someone ‘wrong’ and bringing out the worst in people who become frustrated, demoralised, anxious or bolshy. The language of blame is used to dominate and control and we all know that the outcome is to encourage people to simply become mediocre. Watch any ‘soap’, read any newspaper, listen to any journalist interviewing any politician, and you cannot fail to see how widespread and corrosive this approach is. Education Leeds is based on a positive and constructive culture; an approach that values and recognises colleagues as the talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful individuals they are. When I think about the way I act and the way I manage and lead, I ask myself how would I treat a child who was engaging in a task, doing a job or managing a team? How would I help them manage their own self-talk and build their self-esteem to develop their self-efficacy? Surely, then that's the way we should treat our colleagues to build a brilliant school, a brilliant team and a brilliant Education Leeds.

I happen to be aware that some people 'question' Chris' constant enthusiasm and his favourite word "brilliant"; but why? Would you rather be thought and spoken of as being brilliant or rubbish? Do you aspire to brilliance or mediocrity? Language is MUCH more important than we sometimes think. There is some research backing up a bit of my work that suggests that every criticism needs to be counterbalanced by at least 12 congratulations - but why bother with the criticism anyway?

How can you (and I) translate this for our school/workplace/home?

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