Firstly, teaching is a slight exaggeration. I was assisting a couple of teachers and was assigned the forward roll station. Naturally, I did extensive research before helping at my daughters’ school. I’m no couch potato but I must admit it has been a few years since I last did a forward roll so of course, I watched a few YouTube videos for pointers. It was great to get out of the office and partake in something different. Teaching is leadership of youth. After the day I left wondering who learnt more? The boys and girls or me!?
It was a great reminder that firstly you need great patience and understanding to lead a large group. Everyone is different from the little girl who knew it all and didn’t need tips on how to perfect her forward roll. To the boy who would rather just charge around and be in his own creative space. To the little boy who was frozen with fear, fear of getting it wrong, fear of being worse than everyone else. To the little girl who listened to every word and did her best to replicate and then look for praise. Those little boys and girls will grow up but will still ultimately look for the same from their workplace. As we grow up we learn to adapt and grow, we learn to manage these feelings but that doesn’t mean we aren’t those little boys and girls inside, each different, each needing different interactions.
Communication is key. You need to sometimes demonstrate, you sometimes need to repeat, you always need to be clear. You can’t assume that everyone immediately will understand the directions. You can’t just explain what you need to do, you absolutely must explain WHY. It cannot be just words, it is tone and delivery too. The communication must have participation and be a two-way street. Then you need to listen, observe and respond.
If you make things fun, no matter how daunting and challenging or on the flipside repetitive and simple, your team will follow. If you are willing to do it yourself, people will follow. In 40 minutes with a group of 30 children, I learnt so much about my leadership style, the good and the bad. At times I am that little girl who knows it all, I am that little boy who wants space to be creative, I’m also that little boy who is afraid and I also am definitely at times that little girl who wants to be praised.