Chapter 27 is all about how when you have a problem with someone, you should go right to the source to hash it out, rather than burdening everyone around you with the problem. I'd like to take a different angle on the chapter:
During the past few years, I've learned this lesson over and over in my relationships - the relationship I had with my ex-boyfriend, the ones I have with my friends and family, and also with my colleagues.
What I mean by "accepting" something is this: let's say a situation happens that you do not like and would not want to happen again. Sometimes we just let it slide and hope it doesn't happen again, or accept it. While it's easier to deal with problems like this in the short term, this take on conflict can be problematic for a few reasons:
1. You have to carry around the stress of the situation, which might cause you to want to talk to another person about it (like Clark says, burden someone else on your staff with the problem).
2. By not confronting it, you send a message that the behavior or the situation or whatever happened is okay, which lets people believe that you don't have any boundaries as far as that is concerned, which makes it seem like it's okay to do...maybe even again.
I'm so lucky to have this great friend, one of my best, who taught me how to address conflict. Since meeting her, living with her, and teaching with her, I'm so much more direct with the things that bother me. And, I also prefer to address conflict in person, because via email, messages get confused and it may not be interpreted the way in which you mean.
So, I agree with Ron Clark - If you've got an issue with someone, go to them, talk to them. He suggests beginning with how it made you feel, and also leading with, "I respect you, and I wanted to come to you directly instead of mentioning this to anyone else" (p. 145).
And you know what the best part of this is? That once you've had the conversation, it's done. You feel relief (no matter how hard it was to initiate the conversation), there's no holding grudges, and no one has to wonder whether or not you're upset, because when you're a person who is direct with conflict, you let others know when there is an issue.
I am the kind of person who thinks about gratitude and appreciation naturally. It's always been important to me to tell my friends and family how thankful I am for them, and that has transferred to work as well.
As Clark mentions in Move Your Bus, there are many ways that people feel appreciated. Have you ever read Gary Chapman's Five Love Languages? This chapter totally reminds me of that - how Ron Clark says that some staff would like a note or just a compliment on their work to feel appreciated, yet others might feel most appreciated by a gift of some sort. There are three other love languages, which have been adapted to a book called The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, but this is important information to have because we all feel most appreciated differently.
What I know for sure is this: While the salary a staff at a particular school district makes is important, people (myself included) will continue to work in a place that may not pay the highest wages if they feel appreciated by their colleagues and their supervisors. People like to come to work and feel good, and if that means $5K less than a district nearby, they will continue to come, because they know they are an important and valued member of the organization.
Well, that's all for me today. On Monday, be sure to check out my friend Annie's post over at her blog, Show Your Thinking. She'll wrap up the last two chapters, Enjoy the Ride, and the conclusion.
And be sure to come back next month, as the #D100BloggerPD group will be sharing about our new book: Hacking Education: 10 quick fixes for every school!