When I describe what integrity means to my students, I tell them that it means doing the right thing even when you do not think anyone is watching. That can be easy to do when everything is going well. It is easy for your students to do well when their home life is stable. More often than not, adults and children face adversity every day that challenge how we treat ourselves and each other. If we can find ways to overcome the adversity and to persevere in a positive way, we will be known for how we reacted during those tough times. You could be a mentor to those who are going through similar trials.
I recently read an article from Joshua Margolis and Paul Stolz in the Harvard Business Review titled, How to Bounce Back from Adversity. In this article, the authors have great insight into how we can use adversity to build each other up and learn how to cope with similar situations in the future. Here are 3 ways in which we can show integrity amidst adversity when working with others and through tough situations:
The 24-hour rule
The 24-hour rule is merely waiting to respond to others when your emotions may be elevated. If someone says something in an email or in person that might feel like an attack on your ability to do your job or you as a person, take a while to think about the situation. Often times through email and social media, words can be taken out of context. Wait a while to write an email back to those parents who just sent you a 2-page email about why you are not doing your job for their student. Come back after thinking about it for a while and draft it out. It does not hurt to have someone who is objective about the situation to read it over before you hit send.
Give Others the Benefit of the Doubt
This can be hard sometimes, especially when we hear some bad news. That 2-page email you received from an angry parent may not be targeted at you specifically, even though it feels like it is. Try to see the big picture of this child. There might be communication that could be tightened up between home and school that could help alleviate the problem. The parents might also be working two jobs and are just now seeing that their child is failing your class. Approach the conversation with colleagues, students, parents, etc. with an open mind to listen to their concerns to see where they are coming from. This will open the doors for better dialogue and problem-solving.
A Positive Mindset
When a series of adverse events happen to you, it is easy for self-doubt to creep in. Negative self-talk can occur, and you begin to lose confidence in your abilities to lead your business, your classroom, your family. It is Ok to be knocked down for a bit because of what life is throwing at you, but others around you will see how you get up and react to those situations. Your family, your students, and your colleagues are always watching to see what you will do. Having a positive mindset can even make you more healthy! For more on having a positive mindset, check out 7 Benefits of Positive Thinking.
Food For Thought
When problems arise for us, take some time to rationally think about possible solutions before responding. Thinking about where others are coming from will open the doors of communication and problems solving. Utilize a positive mindset to help you to bounce back and tackle the challenge ahead. All eyes are on you to see how you respond.