I received an interesting question in a workshop the other day that I have heard before, but had never written down. The question was based on working with an administrator that maybe isn’t the strongest, and how you work with them from a position lower on a traditional hierarchy. I will have to admit that this isn’t the first time that I have heard this question, and I gave them the best advice I could. Ask them for help.
So why would you want to ask someone who may be weak at their job or struggle for their advice?
For the same reason that many of us thrive under; the notion of being valued. Asking someone for their advice in a situation or their help, suggests that you actually value what they have to say and are willing to take the time to listen to them. This is something that is important and a way that most of us should feel, especially in a culture where we suggest that everyone is a teacher, and everyone is a learner.
Having spent time being a principal myself, I will openly admit that I had some really tough days on the job, and it is a lot harder to be in that position when you don’t feel valued. But to me, the need of feeling valued is something that we should try to instil in people, no matter their position or authority. One of the best things that I see in great leaders (from any position), is that when you see them talking to anyone, no matter if they are “above” or “below” them in the hierarchy of an organization, is that they treat everyone with respect and care. Bosses need this as well, and when they frustrate us, it is easy to lose perspective. Everyone wants to be acknowledged and seen for their strengths; that never changes no matter what position you may have.
There are a lot of bad bosses who know they are not doing the best job possible, and sometimes showing that value in them could be the push in the right direction that they need. It may not always work, but I know that showing that you value someone is usually a safe bet.
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