My friend Eboney used to always ask me a riddle when I was in my bag about something. She’s say, “Who is more right? Or who is wrong? The one who said they would but didn’t—or the one who said that wouldn’t but did?”
For me? This produces a frowny-faced conundrum slathered in frustration that I bet my teacher friends can relate to. Like which student is more irritating: the one can but won’t, or the one that will but…kinda can’t?
And don’t @ me cuz you know in this classical education that we are required to teach in most public school settings and many private and parochial schools without the alternative of technical or specialized interests, there are quite a few kids that cannot.
I want to leave this here for leaders of all kinds to consider: teachers, pastors, worship leaders, supervisors of all shapes and sizes, parents even: is the person in front of you being willful? Or are they simply unskillful?
There are many times that we as the ones “in charge” or “in power” or “in positions” that provide us with the outward appearance of authority (whether we have it or not) assume stuff. Stuff we ought not assume. Though principles never change, every leader is different, leading from a different set of principles most important to their vision. Those principles guide the what and how of their operation, deciding the mission, goals, and steps necessary to meet the the vision they have set before them.
My question to you is this: are you attempting to squish square and triangle-shaped learners into the circular hole of your leadership style? Are they really fighting against you? Or are they simply ignorant to your expectations?
Here are 4 rules to live by:
- Never assume others know what you think they should know if you never explicitly taught it then checked for understanding.
- Be clear on how much teaching you’re willing to do to fill skill gaps. It should determine how you move: who you hire, which position you decide to take.
- Be willing to recognize that your style may need to shift to accommodate diverse learners and levels—which means you will need development, too.
- Never automatically assume that the person not doing what you want is operating out of spite. Ignorance made afraid looks like resistance.