This is not a post I'm proud of, but it may help others that find themselves in leadership positions that result in frustration and personal behavior that is not productive or supportive of the group. On Thursday I was part of the team planning for our first administrator and teacher leadership classes of the year. There are five of us that have been doing this since we started this work many years ago. Normally, I work through the morning as we make decisions on focus for the day and balance between our Classroom 10 goal and process skills. The others then spend the afternoon aligning activities with goals and the lesson plan.
On this particular day, however, I didn't make it through the morning work. I became frustrated with the conversations and mismatch with what I believe that we need to do to support these leaders in their work. After reflection and conversations with three of the others it is clear that I did a poor job of sharing my thinking and what was causing my frustration. I didn't stay in my rational mind, instead choosing to go to flight by leaving the meeting. When one of the others said that wasn't what I wanted to do I even used the positional power thing to justify my behavior, at least to me.
If I had observed this behavior from one of them or a principal there would have been immediate feedback, but after my behavior I will now consider how best to support their reflection before giving the feedback. I teach this stuff so there is no excuse for my behavior, but it also shows how difficult the work is when we respond from our emotions and not our rational mind. One tool that could have helped surfaced in one of the post meeting conversations is the Experience Cube from the book Clear Leadership. Had I shared using the four components I would have been a productive member of the group instead of flying away to unproductive conversations with myself. Why didn't I think of it or someone else in the group? I let my ladders of influence come to the surface and drive my behavior and I have positional power that made it difficult for others.
Next time I'll bring my Experience Cube table tent to the meeting and place it right in front of me. If you are facilitating meetings this is a tool you may want to consider using. The post is getting long so I'll close and perhaps share some of the frustration's source in a later post.