Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher, was famous for his thought-provoking sayings. His epigrams can be springboards to creativity and personal insights. The epigram, “I searched into myself” reminds us that we have good ideas within ourselves if we are willing to dig deep enough.

As I facilitate People Skills workshops with educators, this epigram reflects the essence of discovering that how one chooses to behave is reflected in their personal and professional relationships. The Behavior Style 360 Assessment, which is an important component of these workshops, provides individuals a unique approach to searching inside themselves.

Most educators are passionate about the work they do because they want to contribute to the lives of others. They are so giving of their time and selves that they rarely make time to reflect on just how their unique gifts and talents make them such a special person to so many students.  They rarely spend time discovering how they do what they do.

Beginning with a Behavior Style Self-Assessment, educators can discover how their preference for behaving has a direct impact on everything they do in the classroom with students and in the hallways with colleagues. This discovery leads to a deeper understanding of how their preferred behavior may have a positive and/or negative impact on students, parents, and colleagues.

Here are just a few comments received from teachers, a principal and superintendent upon reviewing a self-assessment:

“How I wish I had known about this 30 years ago.  My interactions and supervision of others would have been so much more effective and with much less drama!”

“Now I get why several on my team are so frustrated by me.  I keep trying to control every plan and everyone.”

“There was a student I had last year that I just couldn’t connect with. As I reflect on my style preference and what I think his might be, it makes so much sense. I kept expecting him to conform to my way, rather than allowing him to talk out his needs and frustrations. Instead, he acted them out, resulting in lost learning time.”

Beginning my second year as a superintendent, Behavior Style Preferences has helped me realize just how important it is to have each of the styles represented on my Executive Team. We are constantly referring to our quick reference card as we interact with each other. Our team has grown tremendously in relating to others. I believe so strongly in the impact this knowledge can have on results that I now have all the district administrators complete a Behavior Style Self-Assessment.”

Because educators are in the people business, it’s important that each one, from the classroom to the Board room, first understand their individual preference for how they choose to behave most of the time. Once you understand yourself, you can work to be less judgmental trying to analyze others. It’s not about noticing character flaws; it’s about creating psychological safety and having a greater positive impact on the people you work with.

Betty Burks has more than 30 years of experience in Texas public education. She has served as a teacher, principal, and several central office administrator positions in large urban, suburban, and rural districts throughout Texas. She also has experience working with non-profits and community organizations.

Read more about Betty here.

2 Responses

  1. What a great article – pragmatic and practical to eliminate wasted time and energy. Great job.