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The Power of Presuming Positive Intentions

TXTS4 Leaders List

The Power of Presuming Positive Intentions

Kimberly St Clair

School leaders are often bedeviled by faculty members with never ending avoidance tactics. These resistance methods can sap the energy of even the most upbeat leader. Valerie von Frank's article "Turn Resistance into Positive Energy"(2013) describes how principals can "build the required mental maps of collaboration to approach [resistance] issues within the group."

Foremost is shifting our own perspective to embrace “the power of presuming positive intention in the face of resistance" (2013). Presuming positive intentions requires setting aside judgment and our own "rightness" to develop a sense of curiosity about the other person's perspective, making the leader open to diverse ideas and more nuanced understanding of others.

Below are additional strategies for transforming negativity, especially during meetings or professional development sessions.

  • Pause, paraphrase, and inquire

  • Pose invitational questions

  • Keep cool

  • Learn about polarity management

  • Build relationships

  • Have a clear mission and vision

  • Don't take it personally

We invite you to download the article for descriptions and examples of each strategy.