In a social media and digital world, we become desensitized to the illusion of being connected and rate ourselves high in our communication abilities. However, this can be deceiving. The quantity of the amount of our reach to accounts is not equal to connecting with individuals.
Digital communication has improved our abilities to maintain better contact with those who are at a distance, especially during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Businesses, organizations, and schools relied on digitizable communication to continue to conduct their services. How effective were they, and how can they improve?
A blog post caught my eye as I scrolled through media pages. It mentioned how employees are overwhelmed daily with multiple communications, and some of the information in the communications is lost. The post provides a 10-step strategy plan to help improve communication and retention. Within in strategies, I found the following to be part of the plan:
My eyes focused on step 3 of the plan. “Have important conversations face to face.” Also in the blog post was-“A research, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, shows that face-to-face requests are nearly 35 times more likely to get accomplished. Emails fall through the cracks and go unseen, while face-to-face meetings aren’t forgotten so easily.”
The importance of communicating face-to-face is critical. However, it is not always possible. So, finding the best way is needed to find the right path for your communications.
Communicating with my grandchildren is a priority for me, and I am working on a better way for this busy family. I gathered up all of the tools I think I will need to do what I want to accomplish.
I do not want them to lose sight of the importance of family and friendships and to find time together to reflect on the significance of life. It is in the quality of the time you spend on the important things of life.
Times have changed, and tools have been enhanced to make all things easier for us. We must remember not always to think easy is the best, but to know what is best in serving those we serve. Develop a communication plan to ensure what is needed to be heard is heard.
I worked with a business friend helping me restructure all my platforms, improve my communications, change media, and have an overall approach toward serving those I currently do and those I seek to serve better.
As leaders, we want to continue to grow and learn. We connected face-to-face through a video chat—many links, emails , and more face-to-face chats. Our communications are consistent, but my connection is not always reliable! The only hiccup with digital communication is a solid wi-fi connection.
“Well, I tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen,
Pour myself a cup of ambition, Yawn and stretch and try to come to life
Jump in the shower, and the blood starts pumping
Out on the street, the traffic starts jumping
With folks like me on the job from 9 to 5”~Dolly Parton, 9 to 5 released in 1980. This song received a Grammy for the best country song, and she received a Grammy for the best female performance. The song has gone on to produce a movie, musicals, and so much more!
Going to work each day can be redundant. People can feel isolated. So many other issues, and problems come to mind when I think of all of the issues we face today in our work environments. It seems just getting to work; we may be dodging bullets (literally), arrows, and fear to get through or out of the door to begin our work day.
When I write about dodging bullets today, I can mean literally as our world has turned the corner in becoming more violent with the rise of crime. Neighborhoods and cities which were safe are now becoming unsafe. However, it was not my intent to speak about the increased crime but the trauma behind dodging bullets.
Trauma is more than dodging bullets. The phrase, “I dodged a bullet today,” means you escaped a bad situation or something that would cause harm to you. Many individuals around us, or even ourselves, are dodging bullets daily, weekly, or monthly. The circumstances are different for each of us, but the reality is reflected in the environment we all share. Recovering from a global pandemic, higher costs for everything we need, shortages of products, a rise in crime, and the unknowns.
As leaders, we must consider dodging bullets with our staff and arrange a time to address ways to find support solutions.
Arrows have sharp points and are shot to have a direct hit at the bullseye. My husband is a great shot! So are those who shoot targeted arrows of negativity at their co-workers. The craft of arrow shooting is spot on when a toxic environment exists within your culture. Individuals have practiced arrow shooting for a long time.
Toxic cultures begin with one. Once they have achieved the arrow shooting with precision with no repercussions, others notice and start to join because of fear. This is when the toxic culture grows, and fear sets in as others remain quiet.
As leaders, we must recognize when these sharp points begin to surface and address them by reminding staff of our core values and beliefs.
Did you know fear is how people can control you? Fear is an emotion. It is our most powerful emotion and is our defense mechanism. When you are told something over and over, shown something repeatedly and when people you feel are in leadership positions tell you something, fear begins to take hold. Now they have power over you.
Bullying is like this for children. I often tell children and teachers not to give away their power. Power is what everyone seeks. There are lots of steps to take when dealing with bullying, but ultimately it is about placing fear to gain control over you. Children also like to see how far they can go in the classroom to gain more power as well. Why have the power struggle?
We all have fear; it is an emotion to warn us of danger. Fear is a needed emotion but not one we want to get out of control. When our fears overcome us, we have anxiety which can lead to more health-related issues. In the workplace, fear is something we need to address. People should not be fearful.
As leaders, we need to work to help all members of our teams to feel good and safe about being in our workplace environment.
Setting up a System of Support is a great way to help the culture of your work environment address trauma and issues faced.
The system of support will not look the same in every workplace. The framework will be the same, but the elements inside will vary based on the needs and wants of the team. Remember to listen to all voices and pay attention to those dominating conversations; you need all agents.
Framework of S.O.S
Taking action steps to help teams dodge bullets and arrows from the past and present to avoid fears today and tomorrow will improve our teams. Let’s become bulletproof on our way to conquering fear and overcoming all the arrows shot in our direction. I can’t, you can’t, but we can be the solution daily in a world that needs us!
Time is a precious thing given to you each day. You receive 24 hours in a day to choose to use in the way that will best serve who? We need our time to serve us for the needs we have, but not just our needs. What do we need to do with time? How much time do we have? We do not know. Some are given the beauty of many years, and some just a few minutes. It is not in the length of time but in the quality of the time provided and the gifts life brings.
It is always great to enjoy a vacation—time to relax, reflect, refresh and recharge your batteries. However, sometimes you try to cram into your vacation as many activities as you can to maximize your time. Then when you get home you are exhausted from the vacation.
Each year we take a sibling vacation. We missed during Covid-19. This year we are traveling with only my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. We are around the same age, and the tone of our vacation is different than having everyone join. We are kicking back, relaxing on the beach, and taking time to talk and share lots of memories. Enjoying this time together has reminded me how important it is to enjoy family.
I often see a question posed as to your purpose in life. Then also, what kind of legacy do you want to leave? Do you think about meaning and legacy? I do think about purpose in life, but not about heritage.
Each day I set out to make the day brighter for others in the corner of the world I live. Being the solution daily is part of the philosophy I live by, as I believe in working each day to focus on solutions first. I want to leave behind a message of positive solutions, hope, and a system of Two Rules to follow to bring safety, feeling good, responsibility, accountability, core values, and a focused, consistent approach to teaching and learning.
Finding balance in life is something I often hear as a goal or something others strive to find. Most of us look to find a balance in our lives, but what does that mean to each of us? Does each individual expect to have the same kind of balance? Do you want equal time spent on work, family, church, and self? Where is your time to volunteer, take care of your household chores and friends, learn, read, do art, or do other hobbies? And this list continues.
Balance in life is challenging to accomplish, but being aware of how you are spending your time with a purpose in mind will provide you with the direction you need. Your priorities will drive your time and allow you to accomplish all you want.
It is in the journey through our time we will find all of life’s gifts provided through the minutes of moments in time. Some of the time will be captured in spirit faith-shaken time and others in daily times of sunlight beams shining brightly with the warmth to tuck away. Storms may come, and rainbows appear to remind us of promises of everlasting life. Travel the days you are given and embrace each one with the lessons or gifts they bring.
Inside each one is a story to be told. The author of our story should be ourselves, but how often do we allow others to take the pen to try to write in our story?
Storytelling is an art. It is so engaging to listen to a true storyteller who can hook you in with their tone of voice, placement of words, and passion in their expressions.
Stories bring facts to life, make the abstract concrete, and, through meaning-making, walk the listener through the mind of the scientist or mathematician (Ellis, 2005) to understand the value and application of such concepts. Wells (1986) argued that storytelling is a fundamental means of meaning-making.
All of us work hard to make sure our emotions do not interfere when making decisions. As educators, a rubric is created to follow to apply a non-biased look at the work you are evaluating. As a judge of essays for a scholarship each year, our committee utilizes this process of checking essays with a rubric. However, not all of the essays seem to be following the same guidelines from the rubric. We always ask if everyone is receiving the same rubric and information.
Affect is usually a verb, and it means to impact or change. When we think of effect, we are thinking of the result. The product is a noun and is a change that results from the action.
As a retired educator, I continue to be involved with education through coaching actively, mentoring, writing, reading, and supporting educators and my family (daughter, special education teacher, three grandchildren in High School, Elementary School, and Pre-School.). During my entire career, I can not think of a year I was not actively working to engage, involve and work with parents in many different ways. Parents are an essential piece in the success puzzle for every child in education.
Each morning the sun rises to bring a bright ray to brush warmth across our cheeks, reminding us of the gift to open; time.
What to do with the gift of time?