There are many similarities and differences between the field of education and that of the private sector. One similarity is that employee complaints without having a focus on finding solutions have a negative impact on the productivity of the workplace.
As USD 113 begins a new accreditation phase, one area of focus will be on continuing to create the most positive learning environment possible for our students. As we work toward this goal, it is important to identify actions to take and past practices that do not contribute to a positive environment.
In reflecting on a recent situation in our district, I had the realization that I, along with others dealing with a specific problem, were spending almost all of our time and energy on the problem. In other words, our focus was on complaining about the challenges and not on finding a solution. Once we recognized this, we were able to move forward to identifying several options to improve the problem.
That was an example of an area for improvement at the leadership level. With a conscious effort and from positive leadership we can make improvements. We can be intentional with our conversations and our time toward finding solutions.
When we are not focused on solutions, we are complaining. This is not improving the problem, in fact, it often makes the workplace less productive by spreading negativity to co-workers and to other problems.
One of author Jon Gordon’s books is the “No Complaining Rule.” Gordon suggests that organizations foster a sense of positivity by establishing the expectation that the right to complain is earned when a viable solution is offered. “Complain” to the person or people who can make a difference and provide a solution.
Gordon’s emphasis on the solution elevates it above the problem. Complaints without solutions are without purpose and can actually cause physical and organizational harm.
In all workplaces, we have a responsibility to each other to actively search for solutions. Work with those who have control over situations. The idea is that if we are dissatisfied with a person or situation, do something about it. Be positive about your power to own and improve a situation.
As we continue to build our culture of positivity, it is going to be important to be solutions focused. It is also going to be important to intentionally combat purposeless negativity.
Identify your problems, but give your power and energy to solutions. -Anthony Robbins