Natalie Munroe Mistake: People Skills Lessons for Leaders
by Kate Nasser |
The internet is abuzz about Central Bucks PA teacher Natalie Munroe and her blog post where she called her students whiny and lazy. As I heard the story, I immediately knew that Natalie Munroe had made a classic people skills mistake.
Labels –> they never inspire and always leave scars.
There is much for leaders to learn from this people skills mistake. I offer the following lessons and welcome your additions to this post.
People Skills That Lead and Inspire
- “I” not “You”. When you have something negative to say, use an I statement instead of a you statement. Hear the difference between “I would like you to work harder” instead of “you are whiny and lazy.”
- Highlight behaviors vs. traits. Whether you are a teacher, a leader, a team member, or a parent, you are more likely to see positive change when you discuss specific behaviors you want to see rather than traits. You will see results sooner with “Ask for help or offer an idea” instead of “you are whiny.” For years, many mangers have used the desktop sign: “no complaints — only solutions” to inspire employees to engage and solve problems.
- Refocus powerless feelings.
When labels emerge, it is a sure sign of frustration and a sense of powerlessness. Always a danger zone ripe for a people skills disaster unless you refocus on what you can do vs. what you can’t do.
In this case, teachers have the tougher situation. Corporate leaders and managers have options to move low performers to less demanding projects, to lower profile teams, or out the door. Teachers don’t have these alternatives and sometimes little support. Hence it is even more important to refocus on what you can achieve with the students instead of the continued obstacles. When you lower your own frustration you find the power to inspire.
- Move forward however slow the pace. Forward steps toward the mission, purpose, and goals will keep your people skills and your people on a positive track to success. Side trips and rest stops in the gullies of change resistance will derail you all.
- When you slip, admit and recommit. Frustration can get the better of anyone. A teacher, leader, or a team member can slip into frustration driven labels and unproductive remarks. The sooner you admit, apologize, and recommit to productive interaction, the less the damage. You also become a model for learning, leadership, and integrity.
What other people skills lessons learned would you add to this list?
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, replaces interpersonal challenges with people skills greatness. Her stellar record is driven by 21 years of experience, a natural intuition about people, and Masters in Organizational Psychology. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote topics, and testimonials from diverse customers.