Monday, April 7, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 97

The most effective work their minds, before they work their mouths.

We've all been in the presence of a leader who thinks with his/her mouth.  Those leaders blurt things out, often without first considering the impact of their words.

At times, this spontaneity can have a positive impact on school culture.  However, too often, this "from the cuff" type of response leaves others uncomfortable and labels the leader as a "loose cannon."

The goal for leaders is to make sure that the words shared are well thought out, and appropriate for the audience at hand.

This doesn't mean that we can never speak "in the moment."  But it does mean that we need to make sure that our brain has time to process, before we open our mouths.

The importance of reflection cannot be overstated.  With our world so fast-paced, it is easy to forget that we all need to take time to stop and think.  One of the best ways to force ourselves to do this is to wait a few seconds before responding to a question.  I like to give myself about five seconds or so, even if I think I know what I'm going to already say.  I don't do this every time a question is asked, but in deep conversations, or discussions where my response could have a tremendous impact, I make sure I take the time to consider exactly what I plan to say.

At times, these reflection stops change nothing.  But, at others, even with just five seconds of thought, I realize I've misinterpreted the question asked (or the direction of the conversation), and I change course.  This is important, as we're only as effective as the words we use to represent ourselves.

The next time you're engaged in a debate, or are meeting to focus on a serious matter, provide yourself with a  few seconds to think deeply.  You, and your words, will be happy you did.

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