"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."
-- George Bernard Shaw
If there is one area that needs much improvement in adult day to day interactions, it is communication. For any organization to work effectively, communication is key. Not everyone has to be on the same page, but everyone should at least know what page they are on. I have recently experienced the negative side effects of lack of communication in an organization, and it can be quite a bumpy ride when the truth falls off the tracks.
The larger the group of people the more easily misinformation spreads. Negativity is the first thing I notice. People feel in the dark so it's concerning. No one likes feeling out of the loop and it results in fearful thinking. That uneasy feeling breeds doubt and negative feelings towards their environment and it becomes and unhappy place to be.
The second thing I notice is rumors. People don't get enough information they begin asking around, and if what they find out isn't enough they began to speculate. Those speculations are heard by someone as fact, and rumors begin. The longer the facts are withheld the more rumors start flying.
The last thing I have noticed is a lack of productivity. No one feels inspired, driven or creative when they don't feel part of the group. If one doesn't know what is going on how can they step up and have any voice at all? There is no point in voicing up with half the facts. No one wants to ask questions about things they aren't sure of. Sure we were all taught in school there are no stupid questions, but that doesn't mean you won't feel stupid asking.
As this school year sets in, I reflect on what goes right for the parents, teachers, principal and students. There is a lot of good. There is so much I would not change, but communication is not one of those things. There are so many layers of leadership that go into making a school. There is so much that should remain behind closed doors until the door is meant to be opened. There are also so many whispers that get sent through the halls before the good intentions can even stand a chance of keeping up.
While my first hope is transparency whenever possible, my second hope is that people give others the benefit of the doubt. Think the best of people, and before you get upset try to imagine that leaders have the schools best interest at heart. Being an administrator, teacher, school counselor, or principal is not an easy job. There are so many pieces to the puzzle. Please try not to fill an open space just to make up a resolution. The answers will come. They always do, and most of the time it all works out in the end.