Recently I have been thinking about the people we surround ourselves with, whether that be within our workplace or beyond and how these people impact on our professional and personal development.
I have experienced a wide variety of workplace environments, some where I felt isolated and others where I was part of a dynamic team. I have worked in situations where I had very few colleagues and others where there were more than 100 in my direct workplace.
Regardless of the staffing numbers, the environments I have felt promoted my growth and development most have been places where I connected with one or more peers or leaders who challenged, inspired or set high expectations of me. I wonder if this is a reflection of my personality or whether this is something we should all be aiming for.
I consider myself a fairly confident, resilient person and when someone asks “why” I do something a particular way I enjoy the process of articulating and justifying it. I see this as an avenue to either reinforce my choices or as a trigger for change. I have never thought of my practice or personality as stationary or static but see myself on a development journey as a teacher, leader, mother, friend and human being. I see people who are threatened by being challenged, whom take it as a personal assault and whom use strategies of blame or avoidance to deflect responsibility away from themselves and this makes me wonder how they approach their own development and growth.
So I ask these questions;
Who are the people you surround yourself with that challenge your practice or ideas?
Do you seek a group of people who affirm your ideas and thus maintain your thoughts and practice?
Do you choose to work with people based on their passionate approach or whether they have similar views or interests as you?
Do you feel threatened by an antagonist or do you relish the opportunity to develop your ideas and reinforce your position or possibly reflect on adapting?
Having joined twitter and continuing to develop a PLN has meant I can draw from people beyond the confines of my workplace who have shared similar experiences. Of course I choose to follow people whom I share like ideas with and those that reinforce my thoughts on education, however I also purposely select those that challenge or provoke discussion that may oppose my views or at the least broaden my approach to different topics.
I wonder how we truly develop if our own status quo is maintained and we never engage in opportunities to see a different perspective?