Do You Trust Me?
BEVERLY, Mass., July 12, 2017
Trust is a word that holds a lot of weight. It was the word your best friend used when she promised that she didn’t just rat you out to your middle school crush; the word the dentist uses when she has a pick in her hand explaining that it won’t hurt, and the word your belay team uses when you’re 40 feet off the ground, and you only met them 24 hours ago.
We’ve all been in a situation where the words “trust me” make the hair on the back of our necks stand up. How do you build trust in people who have a history of betrayal and self-doubt? How do you become the leader that people will follow because they trust you and believe in the work you do? Theses questions are asked by change agents looking to create meaningful transformations and a building-wide culture to maintain and evolve it.
Each year, we host administrators from around the world for the start of the Art of Leadership and Leadership: An Evolving Vision programs coordinated by the Harvard Graduate School of Education. It’s during their day at Moraine Farm that they are allowed the opportunity to experience situations where their listening and communication skills are tested, and each person must trust his or her team. These school leaders are pushed out their comfort zones, into their stretch zones to make a lasting impact on their future practice.
Through the use of activities, participants quickly realize how each team member juggles multiple responsibilities, and it was easy to get lost in the short term goals while forgetting about the bigger picture. Many administrators noted that one of the hardest parts of the activities was trusting their teams, letting go of holding all the responsibilities, and releasing control to others. The struggles these leaders faced on our course were the same ones they encountered in their school settings. On the course, participants were given the space to experience trust and how much weight it held as each teammate was safely lowered to the ground. Their experiences lead to thoughtful conversations around knowing when to lead, when to build leadership in others, and when to step back and be supportive.
Experience is often the best educator, and when you feel the impact of an activity and are allowed the time to reflect afterward, you allow yourself a greater chance of bringing that learning back to your community so that others can share in the experience and be active in their success. The schools that will be impacted by the talented leaders from these programs will lead their communities towards a healthier future.