Gentle Teaching Stories: “I’ve spent time learning who my supports are and how they feel supported.”

As a brand-new team leader two years ago, I naïvely believed that I had a great enough understanding of Gentle Teaching. That I had reached some level of understanding that wouldn’t transform any further. I was incredibly wrong in that belief and having the past two years to learn about myself and lead my team, I see how vital Gentle Teaching is to a team culture.

I reflect often on power struggles and ego in regard to supporting and across team dynamics. I’ve been in situations that were unpleasant, where others were intentionally hurtful toward me, or toward others on the team. And it took me a long time to identify that these supports needed nurturing. When I began, it was very easy for my ego to step into the drivers seat, and for me to engage in power struggles over issues with my supports. I had a pretty good understanding of COR at the time, and a pretty good ability to read other people which equated to me being willing to go to the mat over a lot of truly miniscule things (hindsight is 20/20). However, I see how that wasn’t helpful. And now, when similar circumstances occur, I can find the space in myself to step back and view the issue from a greater perspective. I have learned to respond to people’s words, not tone. I have learned to seek deeper meaning in the concerns that are brought up. I have learned the importance of having difficult conversations.

I trust the people who are honest with me, about me, the most. And I foster that trust on my team through having that same expectation of myself, for them. I recognize people’s accomplishments – I thank people who have gone through difficult situations. I work hard on encouraging the team to celebrate each other, to find connection in each other, especially during and after tough moments. I work hard to set a good example – always using kind words, not engaging in negative speech about others and coming to the home with all my personal stuff checked at the door. I’ve spent time learning who my supports are and how they feel supported. I recognize that I have a lot more experience to learn and gain. Yet every interaction I have with my team, I can feel a practiced compassion come into how I greet them, what questions I ask and how I seek connection for them. My goal is to be a leader that no one is afraid of coming to, no one is afraid of getting in trouble, and knows that support will be there when needed. And I believe I have achieved this (at least, mostly) by going through my own self-growth and reflection and understanding how I can change the course of an interaction with a team member through my responses the same way I can change the course of an interaction through my positivity with the people I support.

Kassie, COR Family