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The tough option isn’t the one that involves an either/or proposition–“All or nothing?”–but the one that replaces the OR for an AND. It’s too easy to divide life into binary decisions, yes/no propositions that appear to simplify our lives.
Either/or choices are Sucker’s Choices. The best at dialogue refuse Sucker’s Choices by setting up new choices. They present themselves with tougher questions that turn the either/or choice into a search for the all-important and ever-elusive and. Source: Crucial Conversations
What brings these thoughts on? This Connected Principals’ post by Todd Samuelson:
I’m considering making a change. With change often comes the traditional interview process and the preparation that comes along with that ritual. I suppose there is a benefit to this process in that it forces one to reflect. One of the interview questions is sure to involve my thoughts on what I think is the most important quality of an effective leader. After role playing this question in my head a dozen times, I have come to the conclusion that this is an impossible question to answer with any real depth.
As I read it, it makes me reflect on the times I’ve asked myself, “What is the most important leadership quality?” Having done serious reflection–that is, reflection fueled by life experiences that do more than mar the paint job–the most important leadership quality is building relationships. Hands-down, no matter the work that you do, without relationships with others, you will fail.
In the job of principal, I can think of no better leadership quality to highlight when asked a question during an interview. It’s true regardless of your field of leadership because leadership implies interacting with others.