I will get straight to the point because, quite frankly, I don’t have a lot of time. I’m stressed out, double-booked and overwhelmed. Yes, every school year is replete with schedule conflicts and new referrals, but this year has felt like more than I can handle.
Halfway through the school year, my schedule continues to change, my list of evaluations just gets longer, and I haven’t even started my professional growth plan—not to mention that a few weeks ago I had it out with a fellow speech-language pathologist over a total misunderstanding about an email!
Working in the public schools can feel chaotic, and when the going gets tough, interpersonal relationships suffer. Yet, as workplace demands increase, it becomes even more important to share and rely on our colleagues’ expertise. Recently, I’ve felt a deep need for balance and a strong desire for real dialogue with my school teammates.
In a professional setting where, at times, stress is the status quo, we should each take personal responsibility to treat every team member with dignity and understanding to foster an inclusive climate of shared ideas and mutual respect. As the New Year approaches, join me in reflecting on how our own interpersonal skills play a role in the culture of our school teams.
Hectic schedules can make taking the time for civil communication challenging, so I plan—and encourage you—to answer the following questions in preparation for a more civil 2018:
- Do I consider my teammates’ points of view when making decisions?
- Do I take my team members’ ideas seriously?
- Do I regard others’ time as valuable as my own?
- Do I show compassion and kindness towards my team members on a daily basis?
- Do I exercise patience with my team members in challenging situations?
You may feel your workplace culture is beyond repair, but let 2018 provide a fresh start.
I encourage you to make the first move in finding common ground. Your colleagues likely feel the same way. It may be as simple as offering an encouraging word or being a bit more generous with your time. If you reach out, they just might meet you halfway. Being a part of a team with shared goals and effective communication is worth making the first move!
How do you plan to improve professional relationships or prioritize open communication for a more civil 2018? Please share your ideas in the comment section below.
Kylie Grace Davis, MS, CCC-SLP, is a school based SLP in southwestern Colorado. Her previous clinical experience includes skilled rehabilitation services, mobile modified barium swallow studies and tracheostomy management in long-term, acute-care hospitals in Denver. firstname.lastname@example.org