The Horse Whisperer

Posted at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

I heard from a handful of my graduates on the blog on Principles of Organizational Change.  It clearly struck a nerve with some of you… so I imagine there may be others.  The basic question is – how do I advocate for my students and not upset my principal?

The question reminded me of a conversation that I had some time ago with a colleague that went something like this -

My colleague asked - “Do you ever feel like you’re beating a dead horse?”  My response, “I’ve come to believe that is my calling… beating a dead horse”.  He thought about this for a day and got back to me with  “I have thought about this and decided many of these horses are not dead...and I come from horse we are trying to coral and train the horses...we are trying to make better equine...we are - the horse whisperers.”

I learn so much through others and just loved that wisdom.  It’s full of hope!!   And then just think of the power of many, if we were all horse whisperers.   In the last blog I discussed praying about your role in talking with your leaders.   But there is also something to the idea of learning the trades of being a “horse whisperer.”   Or for the purpose of this blog we’ll start with - How do we effectively communicate with our principal?   There are many tips and techniques for effective communication… and many courses and books on the subject.  But my favorite tips that I learned are the workplace communication styles.  You can google more about this, but there are basically four types… the expresser, relater, driver, and analytical.   It is important to know how your colleagues and supervisors communicate as you are more than likely communicating in your style and not theirs…they are then communicating to you in their style and not yours…which then equals a major gap in communication.

For example, some communication types like quick information in the form of data, statistics and numbers.  While many of our teachers are feelers, and they want to know how it impacts their students and the effectiveness of their teaching.   But the trick is that we are always able to adapt to our audience.  I could give many more examples of this.  But it would probably be best for all us to do more research and studying on “workplace communication styles” and learn the styles of all those we work with.   In a perfect world, our leaders are also communicating in the style of their employees.   There are leaders that are just gifted in this area.  I actually can’t help but to think of Jerry Falwell… he would communicate using personal stories (for relaters and expressers), philosophy and numbers (for drivers and analyticals).  

(Btw, when you learn about these different styles you can also learn how different types “act out” when they’re upset.  I may want to save that for another blog. :)