Month: November 2021

Your Words Matter: Think Before You Talk

As a young child, my father had a phrase, I might even say it was a mantra, that he often communicated to my sisters and to me, ‘Think before you talk.” Even as I type it out now, I feel the eye roll of an adolescent child begin to take over. As a young female in a South Asian immigrant family, I interpreted this phrase as ‘be quiet’ or ‘speak when spoken to’ and I did just that. I was an introverted, quiet child who spoke rarely in the school setting. I often kept a long and winding inner narrative alive in my head but rarely shared my thoughts with others. I did not think my words mattered to others. Now as many years have passed, I actually find myself thinking of this phrase with new meaning.

As an adult, a leader, an educator, and a parent I have learned through many small and big moments that this was not the full interpretation of the phrase.

What’s Behind the Behavior?

When I was teaching, each child in the classroom acted differently. Their behaviors were a way of communicating: of sharing thoughts, feelings, and needs that were maybe not being met. As leaders, we can look at our teams similarly to how children act in classrooms. Look closely at your team and think of their behaviors. A close exploration of their actions can help you understand their beliefs and so much more. Elena Aguilar talks about transformational coaching and the 3B’s, behaviors, beliefs, and being. She talks about behaviors (instructional practices and skills) leading to effective practice, exploring the beliefs (about teaching, learning, children, and families) that you operate from, and ways of being, “the ways in which our sense of self and identity impact our experience”. What is your team telling you, both as individuals and as a group through their behaviors? 

Questions to ask as you observe your team:

  • What is the need behind their behavior?