I was in the stands cheering at that middle school game, but left shortly thereafter to attend another school event. So I didn't hear the coach's pronouncement about the players and cheerleaders wearing their game uniforms to school on Monday.
And I underestimated the consequences of failing to train volunteers on our communication protocol that was designed to prevent the eruption that was about to happen.
After greeting families in the carpool line and wrapping up a brief meeting with the facilities director, I started the walk back over to my office to get started on my list for the day. In transit I received a text from my assistant: "We've got some upset parents over here--need you ASAP!"
A large huddle was assembled in my office, with looks of anger and disgust shared without inhibition. The self-appointed spokesperson informed me that upon arrival at school that morning their students were forced to call home and have their parents bring their school uniform because the principal hadn't given permission for them to wear their game uniforms.
"Disenfranchised!" That was the term used to describe this outrageous miscarriage of leadership. Most of that week was consumed with trying to negotiate the pain and suffering of everyone involved, but none of this should have happened.
Had the coaches and administration communicated appropriately and effectively, they would have been able to celebrate the season while also growing engagement throughout the school community. Instead, it became a debacle that frayed relationships and degraded trust.
I spent the entire week managing damage control, dealing with outraged parents and students--a lose-lose situation.
You can certainly relate to this story. Everybody can. You've been there, done that--managing self-inflicted damage and irrational emotional reaction that crushes culture.
Successful Leadership today requires a new level of communication skills.
You have access to an unprecedented array of tools for messaging and listening. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email, etc., offer easy access to your Grapevine, but they also accelerate and magnify errors that can be devastating to your goals.
One of the primary reasons leaders, especially school administrators, are replaced is because of a loss of confidence and trust. Most of the time this is directly the result of communication skills that are unprepared for the complexities of the Grapevine.
The joy of life and of leadership is rooted in relationships--that's why our team is working diligently to make sure you have access to the most effective communication habits.
Navigating through this time of crisis and moving beyond it requires being able to sustain deeper and broader trust that enables collaboration and innovation.
We invested years of research to create an easy process for you to master your Grapevine. The key is to master the habits of Sequence, Frequence, and Flow.
You can learn these communication habits at your own pace using an online training course, and we've created a few bonus resources to give you even more value.