Fear Failure & Lose the Campus Culture

Fear of Failure in SchoolsFailure. It has a paralyzing effect on us all. It is the one demon that grabs our heart, literally, and makes it race. It changes our thinking. It warps our confidence. If you fear it, it will take hold. Fear feeds failure into a monster that cannot be conquered.

Principals and Educational Leaders, fear of failure will...
  • Bring the organizational climate to a grinding halt.
  • Create a culture of intimidation and distrust.
  • Be translated by teachers as criticism, disappointment, and dissatisfaction with their performance.
  • Replace innovation and risk-taking with compliance.
  • Cause you to look out for your self-interest.
  • Cause teachers to look out for their self-interests.

Teachers, fear of failure will...
  • Kill innovation and creativity in teaching.
  • Stunt creativity in students.
  • Slow or stop professional learning.
  • Make change unfathomable.
  • Destroy your motivation and enthusiasm for your craft.
  • Send the feedback to students that they are either smart or not.
Recommended Related Read: Mindset for Outlier Teachers

Mindsets that Kill Fear

Whatever it is that's keeping fear alive in the leadership and in the school, there are some mindsets that can kill fear...and do so quickly. By the way, no one will mourn its farewell. So here they are:
  1. A growth mindset. Believing that learning is messy and failure is a part of the process.
  2. Valuing innovation. Looking for people who question and have ideas out of the norm.
  3. Celebration mindset. Intentionally seeking out reasons to celebrate people, actions, and practices on campus.
  4. Learning focus. Very similar to a growth mindset, but more specifically, focusing on learning. What am I learning? What are you learning? Is your team learning together?
  5. Energetic. That's it. Having energy, expressing enthusiasm. Being there...I mean really just being present and engaged. It does wonders for dispelling fear associated with uncertainty.
That's a short list to help shift a culture of fear to one of positive school improvement.

Here's a quick way to tackle the fear of failure this summer.

Also, how did your teachers use data at the end of the school year? Tackle fear of failure by using data this way instead.

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