Two quotes that stuck out to me in my reading this weekend. The first is from Simon Sinek (Leaders Eat Last):
“The ability of a group of people to do remarkable things hinges on how well those people pull together as a team.”
The second is from Phil Jackson (Eleven Rings):
The samurai wanted to teach his sons about the power of teamwork. So he gave each of them an arrow and asked them to break it. No problem. Each son did it easily. Then the samurai gave them a bundle of three arrows bound together and asked them to repeat the process. But none of them could. “That’s your lesson,” the samurai said. “If you three stick together, you will never be defeated.”
I have been thinking about the importance of those who work in education that work as teams, instead of adversaries, get so much more done. I am not just talking about teachers, but all roles in education. I have seen the “us vs. them” mentality in a lot of systems, where barriers seem to be put up because there is A) a lack of trust of one group to another or B) the work of the others is not valued as much as it should be.
This week, I was blessed to work with Gina Niccoli-Moen, and she stressed to me how important it was that all of the people she worked with were shown value for their work to support students, no matter their role. It reminded me of this article about a custodian who left messages and artwork for students on the carpet overnight. This was my favorite quote from the piece:
“It really drives home the point that there are so many people that come in here after you’re gone and they work so hard to make a safe, comfortable, and happy place for you to learn.”
What is important to note is that in the environments where “sticking together” doesn’t mean “agreement” all of the time. It is people both pushing and supporting one another in the pursuit of serving students. Conflict is beneficial to the process but only in an environment where we are working together where support is the norm, not the exception.