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Leadership Thought #445 – How We Transition…


As my kids begin another school year school this morning, it is always interesting to watch how both the children and parents are transitioning. In some cases either the kids and/or parents will be a bit anxious or nervous, unsure of what is to come.  In other cases, there is an almost a giddy excitement about the new challenges.  Old friends will greet each other joyfully, while the new children and parents will be feeling their way on how to best fit in.  Some children will walk to school alone, while others will have both parents with them and be accompanied all the way to their new classroom.  Many of the teachers will carry themselves with an air of confidence and enthusiasm, while others will be a bit more reticent and laid back.

We never know what life is going to put in our path along the way.  Sometimes our transitions are predictable, such as moving on to the next year in school.  Other times, transitions can happen without much warning, such as an unseen layoff or big promotion at work.   How we and others around us act during these situations can make all the difference.    Obviously some transitions, especially those that involve personal tragedy will require some time for grieving and healing, however even in these circumstances, there are a few universal lessons we can follow:

  • Attitude, as they say, is everything.  It’s not what happens to us that defines us in life, but how we react to it.   All transition involves some level of change, we can either embrace it or hide from it, but the change is ultimately inevitable.
  • It helps to have a support network around you and to be part of someone else’s support network, because transitioning alone is more difficult.  And, when you see someone who is alone, acknowledge their situation and do your best to offer some kind words of support.  After all, we are all in this thing called life together.
  • When dealing with others who are transitioning realize that everyone doesn’t react to things in the same way.  Meet your family members, friends, and colleagues where they are at emotionally, not where you think they should be.
  • When leading others through change, do your best to assume a confident, caring and reassuring posture.  In times of change, people need to feel their leaders are a guiding light amidst the unsettling backdrop of uncertainty.

I have a slight case of unease in my stomach this morning.  Interesting, how as a parent, the feelings of worry we experience are often more pronounced for our children.  Maybe it’s because we have the benefit of life experience and know that things don’t always turn out as planned.  I had great teacher experiences and not so great teacher experiences as a child.  Some years were great socially, while others were more challenging from a friend and peer standpoint. When you start something new you never fully know how it will end.

What I wish for you is that whatever the change you are navigating, you don’t feel you have to go it alone: seek guidance and support when needed.  Do your best to keep a positive perspective and realize that for all of us, there are ups and downs.  The gift that changes offers us is the potential to grow as a person, to be a positive role model for others around us and to embrace the opportunity of new doors opening in our lives.

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One Response

  1. As a former school principal, while reading your post, my memory went immediately to many of my opening school days. I love your positive attitude focus on these transitions. And I agree…the message to kids (and us) is…whatever we experience we have the power within us (plus some help from others) to grow and learn from what happens. Here’s to a great school year for your kids and all!

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