Replied to Angry people (

I get to choose my disposition. I can feel empathy for people that give themselves less choice than I have. I can move on after these interactions without feeling bad, if I know that I handled things as best as I could with the resources and experience that I have… and I need to remember that this applies to them too. They did they best they could, given their experiences and circumstances. I don’t choose to look back on this experience with anger. I’m not upset that I didn’t handle it better. I don’t pretend that it didn’t have an effect on me or I probably wouldn’t be writing about it now. But I will meet more angry people in my life, and I believe that I’m more resilient and more prepared for that time, thanks to this experience.

David, I really like your point about choosing your disposition. In my current role, I support a number of schools across the state of Victoria. This is often by phone and screen sharing. Often when the call gets to me, the person on the other end can be quite tense and frustrated, having already spent some time trying to fix something or get it to work. It is therefore important to listen and empathise with the struggles at the other end.

Although this is different from the situation you touch upon, both situations capture the challenge of communication in an online world. I find this a little easier when I have had the chance to meet the people who I maybe supporting in person. However, this is not always possible when schools are so geographically disparate.

People Are Always Your Best Resource

In a short post, George Couros argues that people are any organisations most important resource. Although there may be the most outstanding values statements in place, if this does not connect and respect the individuals then it will always be limited.

To do work that matters, people need to know that they are the best resource your organisation will have, and they have to be utilised according to this belief.  If you do not bring out the best in them, nothing you write on any document will matter.  Those visions and mission statements can become important, but only people can bring them to life.Source

Another take on this is Brad Gustafson’s take on Start With Why in that in schools we should start with the students first. While Dean Shareski suggests that people and connections are what matters when leaving a conference.