Are You Creating Negativity?

It’s so easy to embrace the negative.

In my seminars I pose the following situation: Suppose your supervisor asks you to stop by the office before leaving for the day.

I then ask people to respond by a raise of hands as to how many immediately engage in negative self-talk, e.g., “What did I do wrong?” The raised hands are unanimous.

But the negative assumption doesn’t have to be created. Consciously or not, this negative self-talk is our own imposition. Compartmentalize it. Your supervisor may have a positive communication for you. Since you don’t know what the conversation will be about, a wrong assumption may prompt undue stress.

As an elementary school principal, a middle school assistant principal, and a high school assistant principal and principal, I continually engaged in a self-argument: Should I inform the teacher ahead of time when I am going to make an evaluation visit, or should I just stop in unannounced and save the teacher the usual negative anxiety from the evaluation visit?

I finally decided to use the universal and enduring principal of good relationships: I gave teachers the choice of which they preferred—letting them know when I would be evaluating their lesson or my visiting without letting them know ahead of time.

What do you do to stop negative thoughts and assumptions from derailing your mood and day? Please share your advice in the comments below.

1 Comment
  1. School districts use the term team when referring to staff, yet
    few administrators operate with staff as a team. I function best when I am included as part of the solution finding process. I need to be informed about everything that affects my ability
    to carry out my responsibilities.
    Stress comes from the feeling something is being done to you.
    And the feeling that something is being done to you happens when information is withheld. Teams operate as a whole sharing the same goals.