In a previous blog, we spoke about how to create psychological safety for teachers. At Agile Ideas Leadership, we prefer to think of leadership as a skill set of small tactics and strategies that get big results. To influence people and change, we will focus on the skills of transparency and trust.
When it comes to influencing people, we focus on forward focused feedback as performance conversations have a negative connotation and can be stressful on both sides of the table for a myriad of reasons.
In order to change the context around performance and influence what others think, feel, and do, setting the stage with a positive emotional attractor will go a long way. Anita Howard in her research speaks of the importance of triggering positive cognitive and physiological responses in people. This opens people to being more receptive, vulnerable, and flexible.
You can work on your influencing power to change how people feel, think, and act by taking small steps with positive directions.
Leaders can change culture by focusing on ways to create
positive correlations between personal growth and work.
Focus on asking, not telling.
Speak with people through their lens, not yours. Facilitating a conversation means asking questions to lead reflection and learn from them. There is no feedback or insights shared when facilitating this part of the conversation. This will help you listen and bring out the thinking of the person you are talking with. They will feel you care and this creates a positive association with you. This opens the door for collaboration and feedback.
Give actionable feedback
Pick a structure for feedback that is actionable. Whatever you choose, make the process clear and the next steps even more clear. Better performance comes when criteria are explicit. The goal of increasing student engagement by 10% means you need to first detail the levels of performance one should be working on.
Focus on skills development
Trends in teaching are constant. This is why focusing on the skills of teaching will lead to actual development and behavior change. For example, you want more student led discussion to be used. This will be a huge shift for many teachers. Break it down into the skills needed. First, lead a conversation about open and closed ended questions. See how people navigate this. As the new behavior and strategies evolve, build in the next skill.
Influencing people requires creating a positive association with you. People need to feel like they are good at something or can be good at it. They need to experience success in some capacity.
One easy way to initiate these feelings is through quality feedback.