The latest report on principals’ work life shows that parents are among the main offenders when it comes the incidence and severity of abusive behaviour towards school leaders.
A parent’s exception to a decision you’ve made is often reflective of parents emotional investment in the parent-child dynamic. Clearly, there are times when you may need to manage how a parent is behaving, without yelling back at them.
A handy all-purpose come back can be useful way to regain control of an unexpected and confrontational situation. Look them straight in the eye and say,
“You must have had a pretty bad day to feel the need to say something like that to me. Do you feel better now? ”
In expressing empathy you’ve accomplished three things:
- You’ve addressed and deflected the offense.
- You’ve maintained your dignity and tried to speak to the intention behind the insult.
- You’ve diffused heightened emotions and are keeping the dialogue open and constructive.
In the upcoming Tough Conversations™ workshops, I want to show you a host of other ways to manage difficult moments with people as well as how to produce productive outcomes when people breach expectations or behave badly.
Join us and learn how to better manage conflict, reduce stress and achieve positive outcomes with parents, students and colleagues – sooner. Tough Conversations, a one-day professional developing training program for school executives to learn practical, effective skills to resolve conflict based on proven mediation techniques. Education practitioners will be equipped with the skills to hold students, parents and staff accountable for bad behaviour and breached expectations. Click here for more information and to book.
– Michael Hawton, MAPS