Hopefully, you work in a team of amazing Educators who take responsibility and make things happen. When Educators work together, take ownership, and show accountability teams can thrive. Sadly, however many teams are stuck playing the blame game.
The blame game starts by Educators denying that there is a problem and when they do admit it, they make excuses for the poor performance. This is then compounded by the poor performers’ leader who makes excuses for their own inaction and accepts excuses from their team. When leaders condone excuses from their team and fail to hold staff accountable, teams can spiral into gossiping and deep disfunction.
The first step to combatting poor attitudes is to be able to name and describe the attitude or behaviour and explain the gap between the current behaviour and the desired behaviour.
- Miss “Denial”
Miss “Denial” refuses to believe anything that might be remotely negative about her performance. She rebuts any feedback and seems oblivious to obvious facts.
- Mr “Excuses”
I forgot. You didn’t ask me. Was that my job? These are the go-to phrases for Mr Excuses. Mr Excuses will create stories of fiction to ensure he doesn’t have to complete his allocated tasks.
- Mr “Blame”
Mr “Blame” takes pleasure in pointing his accusatory finger at the closest person. Mr Blame is an expert in dumping the blame on someone else to avoid taking responsibility for his own behaviour.
- Miss “It’s not my job”
Miss “It’s not my job” is best friends with four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. Miss “It’s not my job” avoids all responsibility and successfully creates a hostile work environment.
- Miss “I know”
Miss “I know” is closed off to new ideas and baulks at the idea of critical reflection. Her attitude is sometimes demonstrated as arrogance—she thinks she doesn’t need to learn anything from anyone.
- Mr “I’m always right”
Mr “I’m always right” is that know-it-all who, right from the outset, wants to declare himself the infallible champion. Mr “I’m always right” is a terrible listener and only hears his own ideas.
These 6 attitudes will cause your team to crumble. Real growth only comes when Educators stop making excuses and take responsibility for their weaknesses, and when managers and leaders take responsibility for holding Educators accountable.
Changing attitudes can be difficult. Attitudes are rooted in beliefs about a particular topic. Beliefs are based on our previous experiences unfortunately, they may not necessarily be based on logic or fact. Some beliefs are formed through rigorous study, others are borrowed from people we respect. Beliefs serve as a frame of reference through which we see our world. Although they can be changed, it often takes time or strong evidence to persuade someone to adopt a new attitude.
As leaders and managers, we see a variety of attitudes in play for every staff member. From their attitude toward teamwork to their attitude toward management and feedback. Roger Connors, the author of Fix It: Getting Accountability Right, says that their “belief system needs to include the idea that feedback from others should not be feared but desired”. Without a positive attitude toward feedback, it’s going to be difficult to hold educators accountable. Interestingly, most evidence suggests it’s much easier to have Educators adopt a new attitude rather than change an old one.
When leaders take the time to understand the story that comes with the Educator’s attitude it proves a powerful tool for supporting change and coaching for accountability.
Adrian Pattra is a management consultant with a Master of Education (Ed. Psychology). He is currently facilitating a new webinar series designed for managers and leaders “Educator Accountability: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide”