8 Corporate lessons you can learn from a primary school teacher

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    As a consultant I deal with people every day. My job is to support them, solve problems and ensure smooth operations. Communication skills and proper attitude are important in this business. I can pretend that after so many years, meeting hundreds, if not thousands of people and working with many of them, I can deal well with people and create good working atmosphere.   

    My wife is a teacher, a great one. Her students are motivated and willing to learn. They love her and enjoy school. She teaches mathematics and foreign languages – one of the toughest subjects for 6 to 10 years old children. But her students are among the best – they are disciplined, they win competitions and perform better than the others.

    You may be wondering what is the connection between my work and hers. It is in the way of treating people and interacting with them. After observing her methods, I discovered that many corporate managers can learn a lot from her. Here is what she does:

    Keep calm

    No matter what happens, my wife never panics, because she knows that panic does not help. She remains calm and finds the best possible way to solve the problem or minimize the consequences.

    You will never see her being angry or speaking loud with children or parents. She maintains friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

    You should see her when she organized a ski camp for 100 children and parents, having limited budget, resources and room capacity and despite the limitations at the end everybody went home very happy (even the mother who broke the leg in a ski accident). Well, that’s impressive!

    React quickly

    When there is an unexpected situation, my wife reacts immediately. She takes the necessary actions to solve the issues and keep things under control.

    Think quickly and take an action, this is what she does. She constantly observes what happens around. When there is a problem, she solves it. When there is an opportunity, she takes it.

    Treat with respect

    My wife treats everybody with respect – children, parents and colleagues (even people that do not really deserve it). She is always kind with the people. If there is conflict situation, she remains calm kind and respectful. This is why everybody likes her and people respect her as well.

    Treat people equally

    My wife treats all her students the same way.

    • She has objective evaluation criteria and applies them to all of them, without favoring anybody.
    • If you ask her which is her favorite student, she will answer you that she likes them all.
    • She helps her students to develop their strengths and eliminate their weaknesses.

    Draw a line

    My wife is very kind, friendly and positive, but at the same time she draws a clear line between what is good and acceptable behavior and what is inappropriate and should be avoided. She always shows the right direction – strong but gently.

    Be patient

    When you work with children, you need a lot of patience.

    • They won’t always follow your orders
    • They will test the limits of what is allowed to see how far they can go before crossing the border.
    • Sometimes they won’t complete their tasks
    • Occasionally they will deliver bad results.

    My wife handles such situations with patience, remains calm, helps the children to solve the problems and guides them in the right direction.

    Be positive

    My wife is smiling and friendly. She focuses on the positive things. If someone makes a mistake, she helps him to find what went wrong and how to do things better. Instead of criticizing, she encourages her students to do the right things.

    Recognize achievements

    When children are doing well, she always rewards them. Apart from good marks, she may give stickers or other prizes, reward them with a funny game or activity and tell few positive words to the parents so the children know that their achievements are known and recognized.

    All these things sound very familiar, right? These are methods and practices I wish to see in every organization. Good teachers use them extensively. Good managers use them as well.  They fit in teams of all sizes and you can always benefit by following these simple principles.