Hacking Positivity: 3 Surefire Ways to Make Your Stakeholders Smile

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These three quick teaching and learning hacks, taken from Hacking Leadership, are awesome for improving education at any school. Better still, they make people smile, and that’s a beautiful thing.

3 Ways to Make Stakeholders Smile

Here are three do-it-tomorrow strategies from Hacking Leadership, by Joe Sanfelippo and Tony Sinanis.

1 – Write positive notes. Start your day by writing two positive notes to staff members. We suggest getting cards imprinted with your school logo, but any card will do. By starting your day writing a few positive notes, you are putting yourself in the right frame of mind. Jeff Zoul, Assistant Superintendent in Deerfield, Illinois, often remarks that writing a positive handwritten note to a staff member makes two people feel better: the staff member and the leader.

2 – Make five positive phone calls about students to start or end your week. This does a few things. First, it changes the lens through which you view everyday events. It is really easy to get sucked into what is going wrong at school because the unfortunate truth is that negative stories take up a good deal of a leader’s bandwidth.

Knowing that you are going to start or end your week with calls to parents changes what you are looking for and helps your overall mentality when walking through the school.

Second, it ensures that you are out of your office seeking out positive events and interactions. Visibility is a key to trust and your commitment to being with students and staff develops social capital. Finally, when your first contact with a parent is positive you create a positive home-to-school connection that will clearly help you in the long run.

3 – Send cards to family members. Being a teacher or a staff member in a school can be extremely draining to those around you. We often forget that the people we work with go home to an entirely different life, one they need to tend to so everyone stays happy. How often do we say thank you to those who help our staff members get through tough times with students, colleagues, and yes, even administrators?

Taking the time to write and mail a quick note to the spouse, children, or parents of your staff members shows you value your staff and their support systems. The reaction of spouses and families is astounding. We can’t even begin to tell you how many times we have been stopped by families of our staff members so they can thank us.

The notes were quick, but the reaction has been extremely beneficial. Such small gestures forge trusting interpersonal bonds.
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Author: Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is the Founder and CEO of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Join more than 150,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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