Day 12 (of 188) Workplace Conversations

Day 12 (of 188) Workplace Conversations

Not connected with job action, early last year the PVPs in #83learns identified “difficult workplace conversations: listening” as an area where we wanted some ‘focus’. So, for the third (?) time I had the opportunity to be part of a group to meet with the dynamic Raj Dhasi ( )
What I love most about Raj is how she starts her ‘chats’ (as much as she’s a presenter, she wants to get to a comfortable level) where she asked “what do we need to know about her” – how do we make personal connections with her …. and in  education, relationships are key.
And there’s the timeliness – even though we identified Raj as a facilitator we wanted to work with last year, the timing (with BC Teachers preparing to ratify a 6 year contract offer and a lot of emotions crossing the spectrum) could not be any better.
—> sidebar query: how does a group (federation, school, family) ‘manage’ with the range of emotions we will be working with: detached, anger, depressed, happy, enthused, etc…
And regarding that, Raj made a great point about the importance of subtleties – the sigh, the volume of voice, sarcasm, the way you sit or fold your arms…. the importance of being mindful in what you say and how you say it. How and What you say/do in the first 30 seconds will create the starting tone.
Our first journey was into defensiveness:
– serving to protect
– devoted to resisting or preventing agression or attack
– Behaviour to protect oneself from real or perceived attack
– In the state or condition of being prepared or required to defend against attack or criticism
My analogy was a castle – once upon a time, the defensive-appearing castle was many time an ‘offensive weapon’ – but for people with a different mindset…
Causing defensiveness
-powerlessness -less control/resources
-face saving
-copy cat mechanism – watching someone be defensive & mimic it (fight this by nutrition & hydration)
– physical pain (walking line for hours…)
– emotional pain caused by social rejection
– stress level correlation between allostatic load and internal coping resources
– skewed or accurate perception of:
     – the others intent
     – differences between you
     – ones own capabilities, etc
     – ones own world
Processing vs solving – both connect to defensiveness and made me think of this clever commercial:
Raj shared this Larry David classic:
Why do we become defensive in the first place?
It’s all connected to the brain – connections to CBT & recognizing body cues!
Different parts of the brain regulate you and different sections get stimulated by different events/actions (and can turn parts on and off )
And right now we are thinking a lot about ‘others’ …. as with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (and connecting with so much we are learning/doing about brain-learning, self-regulation & mindfulness) we need to understand ourselves and pay attention to our body cues to recognize how/what we are doing & what that means! And the add-on: how is what we say/do being interpreted.
In other words, use the cortex and be attune to everything going on around you…including yourself.
That means SELF CARE – much like on an airplane we are told (in an emergency) to put on our oxygen masks before our child’s mask; we need to be taking care of our ‘needs’ (eating healthy, sleeping well, exercising etc) as we work with others.
Where we are going
It is not going to be an easy “startup” to the school year. All parts of the brain are going to be ‘lit up’ at various times of the day! Which raises the importance of mindfulness to greater prominence…!

About technolandy

Educator in BCs Sunny Shuswap Pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Utilizing ePortfolios & Descriptive Feedback
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