“Effective leadership is not about traits or skills but an emotional process.” This statement from Friedman’s Theory video is applicable because I have learned that you can build on these leadership skills and don’t have to be a born leader. I like the analogy of comparing some humans to a virus. I believe we can all relate to this, misery needs company. In the past, I have tried to stay away from negativity because it can be contagious, similar to a virus. I absolutely agree that a major component of stress is getting caught up in the triangle, depending on my state of mind, sometimes I attempt to avoid these breeding grounds and focus on my own priorities. However, I am learning through Friedman’s theory and crucial conversations that avoidance is not the solution. The real solution is resolving the problem in the first place, to keep the toxicity from spreading.
In Friedman’s’ theory video he speaks about sabotage, and when several participants are toxic they will likely turn on a differentiated person. Almost how a virus will morph and change its path to survive. However, I don’t believe this is always the case. I think most people do not want to be a part of a toxic environment, they just don’t have the tools to make changes. My second year teaching I switched schools and in my interview, it was asked a few times how I can handle an aggressive and volatile team. So, when I got the job, I should not have been surprised that initially the PLC’s consisted of shouting matches and slammed doors. Literally. Through my department heads calmness and my need to not choose sides and build relationships with all members of the team, the toxicity eventually cleared. I hadn’t heard of crucial conversations at that time but my department head had used many of these strategies she would focus our attention on facts and would remove the emotional blaming. She found a way to provide an environment where we all felt safe and our opinions were valuable. This calm attitude of facing the problems without emotion, eventually lead to professional meetings.
Crucial conversations is an excellent book, and it really brought much reflection for the way I communicate with others. I think all the strategies discussed in the book have value. It is so important to take the emotion out of the discussion, and redirect back to how we are all trying to accomplish the same goal. I often notice when people run out of valid information they turn to emotions and start attacking to avoid the real problem. When I worked at an at-risk wilderness camp the students came with zero ability to communicate. We would force them to circle up and communicate with “I feel (emotion insert) because you did this.” And it would help to teach them how to communicate and to address the problem. But even as an adult this is a tough thing to do. When you don’t resolve the problem, it builds resentment and frustration. On the other side if you address a situation too harshly it leads to the same emotions. Communication is so important, I believe there definitely is a direct connection between successful leaders and communicating effectively.