In education, we’re constantly talking about the need to reflect upon our work. The reflection, we know, will make us consider what we could do differently; lead us to make necessary changes; and come out, the next time, better than before.
But reflection can easily begin—and end—with assigning blame. Which doesn’t help anything.
It doesn’t reflect. It deflects.
Let’s say I’m running a staff meeting that quickly devolves into a mess. It’s disorganized and cluttered and disjointed. Not knowing what else to do, I stutter and stumble through. Later, back in my office, I admit to myself, “Wow. That didn’t go well… at all.” I might think to myself:
- The people in the back weren’t paying attention.
- They didn’t even bring the agenda I sent them.
- We have GOT to re-configure the space in the room.
- They don’t realize that this stuff I’m telling them is important.
- They show zero respect for me, as their leader.
But these things? These are not reflection. Instead, they just assign blame to the things that led to a crappy meeting.
So how could I ask some questions that would lead to genuine change? Simply twisting the questions to include the word “I” might help:
- What could I do to engage the people in the back of the room?
- The agendas I create aren’t valued. What is their value? Should I re-think why and how I create them?
- Am I utilizing the space well?
- Why do I feel I am not respected? What action steps could I put into place to work through this?