Professional Development

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Strategies to Help Principals and Afterschool Program Leaders... CLICK!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013 04:45

We all know the feeling. We meet someone new for the first time, and for some reason, things between us just "click." Some couples describe this connection as "love at first sight." On a professional level, quick-set connections can negatively or positively affect our experiences and relationships for years.

Principals and afterschool program leaders who choose to develop aligned, high-quality learning experiences for children and youth, can benefit from an understanding of the psychological analyses of quick-set, intimate human interactions, as presented in a book entitled Click: the Magic of Instant Connections, written by brothers Ori and Rom Brafman (New York: Broadway Books, 2010).

Typically, it takes weeks or months for most individuals to develop a truly comfortable and effective relationship with another professional. "Clicking" is defined as an immediate, deep, and meaningful connection with another person. When that happens, those who have experienced that kind of connection describe the phenomenon as being magical. So what might principals and afterschool program directors learn that can help them accelerate their relationship building (their clicking), gain higher levels of trust, develop a common language, understand and tolerate quirks, and establish an effective, meaningful relationship that leads to high levels of productivity for all stakeholders?

1. There are subtle yet powerful psychological cues that can help create a click. a. some examples are touch, eye contact, smell, safety. When we make ourselves vulnerable and candidly reveal who we are, we allow for the creation of an environment that can lead to an instant click.
2. There is power in proximity. We are exponentially more likely to form a relationship with people who live and work close by. Principals and afterschool leaders need to focus on how frequently and how closely they have contact with each other.
3. Being fully present helps create resonance, a quality that draws others to us. Leaders need to pay close attention to what others say and do and to their attitudes and needs. Be intentional, be mutual, be authentic, and be attentive. When we are "in the zone", we are most likely to draw others in.
4. Similarities count. The more ways that we can identify, zero in, and accentuate the similarities we share with others, the more we will hit it off with them.
5. Environments can help foster intimacy. Our surroundings and the situations in which we find ourselves with others can lead to a quick-set intimacy. Overcoming challenges or adversity together can encourage clicking.
6. Some people are magnets because they have mastered the art of self-monitoring. These individuals can modulate their emotions to match and meet others. They are highly aware of others' mind-set, attitude, emotions, and as a result, greatly increase their likelihood to connect, or click.
7. Being around others with whom we click can elevate us to perform at higher levels. In this state of personal elevation, we are more open, creative, and willing to stretch beyond a comfort zone.

If you don't want to leave your opportunities for experiencing the magic of clicking to chance, and you intentionally strive to foster better relationships with your colleagues, improving how you click with others will help you achieve at your best.

Aligning the Learning Day is a collaboratively developed professional development program from the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). For further information about how this workshop can help principals and afterschool program leaders develop a sense of CLICK in their professional relationship, email Dr. Paul G. Young, President & CEO of the National AfterSchool Association, at or call 703-610-9026.

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