Give credit where credit is due

Give credit where credit is due

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

Sounds obvious but it does not always happen. Especially in highly hierarchical organizations, people often think they get credit based on their power, not their actual contributions. And that is the crossing where all can go just wrong.

I think we all are responsible to change this — not just with our friends and family but in all the occasion, we face people. What we can do?

Pay attention at people around you, who you meet, your colleagues, people in your organization and give feedback. Make sure that the right people are getting the right credit for the right reasons at the right time. Be an explorer who want to find out the best out of everyone.

Credit team members for crediting one another. Good idea is to incentivize your team members to acknowledge and appreciate others’ contributions. This “expansion” of credit enhances team cohesion and trust, promoting more and better collaboration. Positive emotions expand our awareness and open us up to new ideas.

Show them the way

Crediting system that increases brain wellbeing

Very simple method to develop greater happiness and better self-confidence on others is to credit others. Create experiences for them, which help these good mental states become good neural traits. This is taking in the good: activating a positive experience and installing it in brain. You must be honest and truthful, fake won’t matter.

In my team at work, we are excited about brain wellbeing and our ability to increase it by our actions. We like to symbolically reward people who are for to credit. We have created rewarding system that supports brain wellbeing. The brain is the organ that learns, so it’s designed to be changed by experiences. What we repeatedly sense and feel is slowly but surely sculpting brain wellbeing.  Positive feedback will leave an enduring imprint in our brains. Your mind is actually building your brain every day. So why not to have an influence on other peoples brain and brain wellbeing among creating the world the better place.

In my team, we have a certificate that says, “Well done”. You can receive the certificate whenever you have done something remarkable, or have finished something before deadline, or just survived trough a rough day, or just been adorable, kind and good to others. You can also give the certificate to yourself whenever you feel like it! Among the certificate, we also like to credit each other with spontaneous feedback for example by saying something as simple as “That was very great what you just said…”

Reflection in relationship has been described as a process that helps to turn experience into knowledge. We need more information where we are good at, what are our own strengths in someone else’s opinion. This way we can turn these experiences into knowledge and start to believe that we are good on something, we are capable on things that we are doing and we will have possibility to do more. To be able to be a reflective person who creates reflective atmosphere is not something we are born with, it is a learnable ability and it develops in discussions with other more advanced minds. It allows us to develop ourselves among it tempts us to continuous lifelong learning.

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Thank you for inspiring me!

Good trustworthy feedback, credit what you have done or achieved motivates you, pushes you to accomplish the tasks you are expected to do. It also pulls you towards something that stirs your heart and mind. It gives you the feeling that will support you to get the best out of yourself. A reflective person is not afraid of other one’s wisdom and knowledge vice versa they celebrate the brains that they have in their company, they love to give the credit for the ones it belongs to.

When we are filled with inspiration we don´t need external motivation to move forward, we will move forward. So why not to inspire each other’s, to get the best out of everyone. I get highly inspired by trustworthy feedback. It melts my heart and builds my self-confidence. I love to learn from others as well I’m happy to give feedback and credit to others.

The most important thing is that an atmosphere is created safe, where collective aspiration can be set free and we all are keen to learn from each other. This demands trust, believing and respect. Good, respectful relationship engages me to expand my thinking, to increase knowledge of what I might be lacking.

People with good basic trust are more likely to think optimistic and credits others. Basic trust is build in early interaction with a child and their care giver. It is an implicit trust that what is optimal will happen and a person believes whatever happens will ultimately be fine. It is the confidence that reality is ultimate good, and all that exists, are by their very nature trustworthy. Basic trust gives an implicit orientation toward all circumstances and that allows us to relax and see situations as learning opportunities.

As well as we can create optimistic learning atmosphere, we have huge impact on developing a basic trust if it´s needed. Basic trust can be developed in trustful and respectful relationship. We can reflect security, build trust and create permissive learning atmosphere where other people can relax, learn to act and be in securely attached in ways that are needed in life.

The more we create basic trust, optimism in people’s lives, the more process of transforming and realizing and becoming flows more smoothly. Building the basic trust can lead people to feel that they are good, valuable, worthwhile and lovable. Quite powerful!

As well as basic trust can be developed, optimistic thinking and crediting others is learnable. We know that the mind can be trained into new habits of thoughts and that those who learn optimism can obtain all of the benefits associated with that attribution style. In order to cultivate an optimistic thinking and crediting others, a person must work to change their pessimistic explanatory style to a more optimistic one and to be more willing to see other´s success.

Text Annele Heikkilä

Photos from Unplash: Wang Johnson, Oliver Easton, Helena Lopes

 

More me when abroad

More me when abroad

It´s been a while since I have been working with my international colleagues and I have to admit I really miss working in different countries with different people and using different languages. To be honest my last work trip abroad was in October and it seems like forever ago to me. Even though I work in an international atmosphere every day I miss that certain feeling that I have when working abroad.

I have been thinking why I´m so keen on internationalization and meeting new people who come from different cultures and countries.  It is obvious that travelling and working abroad enables me to develop new skills, languages, cultural awareness, social skills but among those I have realized I´m more alert when abroad. I have to focus on language and different cultural habits, but that alertness takes me there what I believe is the reason why I truly love international work.

I believe when I´m working in different challenging situations I´m taken out of my comfort zone, some people find it awkward and unpleasant, especially when they have to work with another language than their own. Instead I find it rewarding and I find myself more true to myself and others. This only tells my story where I come from, why I feel this way and can´t be generalized.

I believe when I´m working out of my comfort zone I´m more likely to drawing strength and security inside of myself. I´m using basic trust that has been given to me on my early childhood. Basic trust is built in early interaction with a child and their care giver. It is an implicit trust that is optimal will happen and a person believes whatever happens will ultimately be fine. It is the confidence that reality is ultimately good, and all that exists, are by their very nature trustworthy. Basic trust gives an implicit orientation towards all circumstances and that allows people to relax and see situations as learning opportunities. Basic trust can be developed in trustful and respectful relationships. Yes, I´m thankful for my early childhood, it has had a remarkable meaning in my life. It has given me the orientation to my life. But why am I so keen on working abroad and with different languages?

When a child feels good about themselves, it sets them up for success. When you are able to carry on this feeling in your life it takes you there.

You can´t choose the family you are born into. I was born in very board-minded, accepting and international one. My mom was sent abroad when she was 16, of course her family had international connections and they had the experience that travelling and meeting other people from different cultures brought some interesting extra into their lives. My grandfather had lived abroad a great part of his adult life, before he was ready to settle down and start a family. So, I was sent abroad when I turned 16 and so was my daughter. In that age of 16 you are vulnerable, but eager to experience. This allows you to a straight and forthcoming connection to who you are, how will your basic trust take over and carry you trough out your life. I was able to have that experience that whatever will happen will ultimately be fine. I had an experience that reality was ultimately good, I could trust myself and find different circumstances trustworthy, but you must remember that this belief had been built in me already.  I could relax and see situations as learning opportunities and that way I also learned from life among new culture and language.

Later on, when I graduated from college it was obvious to me to start my career abroad and I did. I wanted to be contacted to that feeling of vulnerability and confidence at the same time. I have a feeling that when you are forced to that vulnerability you are more open to who you are, you are more you. This is the reason  I enjoy working abroad, being more me, learning more about myself. At the same time, being vulnerable and having this straight and forthcoming connection to who you are, it gives you all the information about yourself. Positive and negative. How you handle all this information is based on your reflective ability.

Reflective ability is a quintessential human capacity that is needed to be able to successfully navigate the information flood that you have inside of you, all the feelings, actions and their co-operation or disconnections. It is learnable process and can be developed through out your life.

You should ask thoughtful reflective questions from yourself to reflect on your actions. When you are merciful and compassionate towards yourself, even how odd and outrageous your actions can be, you will help yourself probe deeper to your complexity and this will encourage you to better self-reflection. Just always pause and ask, why I´m acting this way. Simple as that…

Thoughtful questions to yourself will help you move forward with focus and intent. Trough out these inner conversations you will gain confidence and become more skilled at working through tough problems without hurting yourself or people around you. You will start to spread an atmosphere that allows you among other people to grow towards more aware and better people.

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In two weeks my longing will be over. I will catch the plane and head towards Köln, Germany, to work, but most of all to be more connected to myself. I know I will have situations that I have no clue how the handle them, but I know I can trust myself. I know that whatever will happen will ultimately be fine.

Text Annele Heikkilä

Photo Lia Heikkilä

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do what you love – love what you do

Who am I to do what I want to do?

Why is that? How wrong I was. I had seen my own mother working as a teacher my whole childhood and I thought that it is not what I wanted. It was because I had a stereotypical picture of a teachers job. I did not think of what I could do as a teacher nor what I wanted to do as a teacher. A lot has happened in the world ever since and a lot has changed in me also during that period of time. What I am happy about today is that I actually am a teacher, coach and a mentor today. But, did I back that time know what I wanted to do or be? No I didn’t know. The help I got from the school or from home didn’t really help me much because I simply didn’t know myself well enough.

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I wish I could forward my students today something that I have learned during the journey into myself. I don’t mean anything they can Google or learn from the books but something totally different. What is it then that I could or maybe should teach them? Self-knowledge maybe? Self-knowledge is something that should be taught. Yes I know, it sounds rediculous and maybe even stupid but it is true. Many of us people in the world of today don’t know who we are nor what we want to be or do. We follow our peers, parents, relatives, authorities or we fulfill some kind of obligations (specially youth at schools). Unfortunatelly I say so and I also mean it. It is lost energy, lost potential, lost resources and lost selfhood at worst. So who am I and what do I want are relevant questions.

How do I do that – teach self-knowledge? There are for sure as many ways of doing that as there are teachers. I start with asking my students who are you, what can you do or what are you good at? An awful difficult questions for being so simple ones you might think. Then I continue with what would you like to be better at? But still one of the most important things after knowing what I can do and what I can’t do is though what do I dream about. What would I wish to do the most in my life? Now we are talking about personal skills and abilities. What could I do with my own personal skills and abilities and then if or when I know what I want to do what would I have to learn to be able to fulfill my own dreams? I believe that the motivation for learning something I know that I want to learn and that I need to know is better than just learning something in storage. Even learning something that I am not fully interested in is easier with a motivation for that than without it.

Where would we be and what would we do if we were doing something we really want and love to do? It would be hundred times easier to forgive ourselves a mistake or a failure than it is otherwise. By the way, doing something even if it was a failure is better than doing nothing. By a failure you at least gain with experience but doing nothing weakens everything and not least your self-respect. The treshold grows bigger and bigger to start with anything after a while. Of course we need good experiences and we will get some by doing something. That is why I recommend you to learn to know yourself. To know what you can do and what you want to do, then it is easier to start doing something.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE
LOVE WHAT YOU DO

What do I gain from doing what I love and loving what I do? Better self-confidence which again allows me easier to accept that I can’t or won’t always succeed. I make mistakes but it is not the whole world to fail. I can also learn to be glad about failing. We all do mistakes. I am a valuable person anyway and I am not judged because of my mistakes and even if I was judged it doesn’t matter. I can and will take it and make it further. My good self-esteem allows me my own mistakes because I am doing what I love so I can love what I am doing no matter what happens. I can proudly stand for what I do.

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Would world be a more beautiful place to live at when we do what we love and love what we do? In my opinion yes. More positive attitude with an ownership of what you are doing than without it. Decide what it is you want to do and then start working for that and do it. Don’t think of all the reasons for not succeeding but all the possibilities what succeeding will bring you.

I can not always choose what I am doing but mainly I can. I do what I love, what I am good at and I can use my strengths. I am positive to what I am doing and I learn something new every day in my life. I do not succeed with everything that I am doing but I know that it is not even possible to succeed always. I am blessed and thankful that I can do what I love so I can love what I do.

I encourage you to DO WHAT YOU LOVE ❤️ you have more to give and more to get. Be positive – life is not always easy but when you know what you’re doing and you’re doing it, it is easier to LOVE WHAT YOU DO ❤️

Written by Natascha Skog

Photo by Niilo Isotalo on Unsplash

 

 

 

Inspired By a Leader

Inspired By a Leader

I have earlier written about insecure leaders. Now I think I should write about other kind of leaders and about my own experiences of being led. I have to admit I´m quite fascinated about my organizations head leader´s ideas, how he thinks that reflective  interaction requires good self-esteem. He says that we should not hide or forget ourselves under the constant hurry. If we forget ourselves there is a concern that we will loose our contact to ourselves. We become more drifting personalities thinking that if we fill our days with e-mails, social media or other stimulations that make us look busy, people will respect us and we become more valuable. Drift is a choise one does without decision and it may unleash consequences for which one doesn’t take responsibility. Drift might sound small, but once unleashed, drift is a powerful, often almost unstoppable, force. Are we too afraid to ask ourselves, how we are?

Reflection in relationship and in leadership has been described as a process that helps to turn experience into knowledge. To be able to be a reflective person who creates reflective atmosphere is not something we are born with, it is a learnable ability and it develops in discussions with other more advanced minds.

I have found that there are atleast three different kinds of leaderships: motivational, inspiring and reflecting one.

Motivational leader motivates you, pushes you to accomplish the tasks you are expected to do. But you might need motivation to be pushed, maybe you would rather be doing anything else. We can be motivated by result not the journey.

Inspiring leader instead pulls you towards something that stirs your heart and mind. Inspiring leaders know that the most effective way to enroll followers is to clearly articulate what the leaders believe in, why they exist, and where they are going.

A reflective leader supports employees to get the best out of themselves. They allows employees to ‘hear’ their own thoughts and to focus on what they say and feel, they encourag employees to a conversation that leads to brainstorming, changing ideas and growing. Reflective leaders shows the employees that they are trying to perceive the world as employees see it and that they are doing their best to understand their messages. A reflective leader is not afraid of their employee’s wisdom and knowledge vice versa they celebrate the brains that they have in their company, they also give the credit for the ones it belongs to.

We can be inspired by a person, an atmosphere, or surroundings. I think we have different ways to get inspired. When we are filled with inspiration we don´t need external motivation to move forward, we will move forward. People who are lacking clear vision often need external motivation to keep themselves moving forward. Motivation or inspiration is not enough. We also need reflection to be able to grow, learn more from ourselves and our underlying emotions and interpersonal behaviors.

I get inspired by good conversations, (Of course surroundings too, I´m aesthetician.) talks where I can feel comfortable, be visible as who I am. An atmosphere is created where collective aspiration can be set free and somebody is keen to learn from me as I´m from them. This demands trust, believing and respect. Good, respectful relationship engages me to expand my thinking, to increase knowledge of what I might be lacking.

Last week I had a good conversation with my leader. If I exaggerate a bit the main content of our conversation was that he was interested how I felt myself in my team and that I´m free to do what ever I want to. I underline exaggerating, but the message to me was clear: I´m trusted and respected. As a professional I know my limits and they were discussed, but the feeling of freedom inspires me to do my best.

The conversation had reflective point of view. It included self-observation and self-evaluation and as we know this will lead to better self-awareness and confidence. When you are invited to collect information about yourself and your way of working, and by analyzing and evaluating this information, it helps you to identify and explore your own practices and underlying beliefs. This will lead to changes and improvements in working. Reflective leading therefore means professional development which begins in a dialogue with the employee.

Tiny little things to do to get the best out of the employee, but so meaningful and so hard if you are lacking reflective ability. I´m very easygoing person, I´m easy to please and easy to lead, but it must be done in a transparent, honest way. I must be able to trust that purpose is genuine. It is known that low levels of reflective ability have been associated with insensitive and emotionally unresponsive behaviors (e.g., withdrawal, hostility, intrusiveness, and distorted perceptions of affective communication). Reflective ability is a mental process thought to be invoked in the interpretation of human action (i.e., the attribution of personal meaning and intention to others’ behavior).

I must say I have different experiences being lead. Of course I have, I started my career in 90s. One of my bosses on my way has become my dearest friend and an otherone is helping me on my career what ever I have decided to do, he supports me no matter how crazy ideas I get! That I call trusting!

I have also met leaders who have not taken responsibility of their behaviors and actions. When you are lead by a very insecure leader you also become insecure, the reflection tells you, that you are not good enough, not accepted nor trusted. Your purpose is doubted no matter how hard you try. The creativity is killed and you will start to drift, there is no energy to think other options.

Reflective ability reveals unsafe patterns and disrespectful ways of leadership. It helps individuals to understand that emotions influence interactions. Ability of thinking reflectively helps to clarify the cause and effects relations between underlying emotions and interpersonal behaviors. May be, if you are too torn, you have no courage to do anything for the situation. You either defer or give up and resign.

The more reflective and respectful a leader can be, the more reflective and respectful their employes will be. The more reflective  leaders can be the more they can learn from the employees, because they knows they can trust the employees´ reflections. Reflective leaders motivate and inspire employees´ in powerful way because it involves personal growth.

Written by Annele Heikkilä

Photos Lia Heikkilä

Spontaneus after work discussion

Spontaneus after work discussion

As we have mentioned earlyer we found after work discussions very evolving. On friday we met for a late lunc or should I call it a dunch after work. We had an inspirational conversation about our future plans and dreams among personal life updates.

We also discussed about what have we gained participating to different Erasmus+ projects. We have noticed that participating to international projects enables us to develop new skills; we have been able to get to know first-hand information of another European educational system, learn and share new ideas and explore the best practices to take back to Finland. We also have learned a lot from ourselves. Video was shot on a whim, totally spontaneus.

 

Video Laura Nikkanen, editing Annele Heikkilä

Brief introduction to four knowns and unknowns. What they have to do in teaching.

Brief introduction to four knowns and unknowns. What they have to do in teaching.

Known knowns (Things we know that we know them)

  • We learn best by doing, we know that.

Why it is hard sometimes to see results even when you teach “learn by doing – way”. There are few reasons. One is that school is not real, in sense that even though you might have job like simulation, something still seems to be missing. I think that this missing thing is students’ motivation. There are no sense of danger making mistakes and losing your job. There is no fear that you are losing a patient. School is school, it’s not real life, most of student’s think. They are used to being in school. Almost all their life. They are not mentally prepared to work in school as much as we would like. Think about your first days at work, you are 100% focused (and maybe more stressed and more nervous). Think about you after one year. Not so focused maybe anymore. Think 10 years. Then think how much you are willing to re-learn or educate yourself more and be focused every day. It isn’t that easy. It takes more mental preparation to be that focused and have high energy.

Teaching by simulation is still the best way. That’s the part where important teaching comes in, that dreaded word teaching. Teaching in sense that you learn your ropes with guidance of teacher and have relatively safe environment to succeed and make mistakes. Teachers guidance is super important in this point to give advice and feedback and prepare students for future. I think we teachers know that and know that we know that.

 

Things we know that we don’t know them

  • Why are honeybees dying? We know that they are dying, but we don’t know why.

Let’s say our student works at shop. Shop sells different items there, clothes, candies, coffee etc. When he comes to work first time, what he does not know, but needs to know? Prices of course. What else? How to make coffee, how to use cash register, where shops clothes are coming from, what material they are, and so on. We have to know what our student does not know so he or she can be better at his job. We teachers as our students, must know our unknowns. Let’s think about that simulation again. Can we simulate everything? Off course not. Can we teach or prepare them for everything? Off course not. How we prepare our students to things that can’t be simulated, like real life situations where you might feel anxiety or stress. At least to my knowledge best way is to prepare them mentally and have them practice in job like situation as much as possible, so that they build confidence in their abilities and most likely will stress less at work and be better workers.

 

Unknown unknowns

  • World can explode tomorrow (we did have no clue and did not think it as possibility)

Hardest part to write and think about. How to think unknown unknowns? There might be even better ways to learn and teach. Maybe we don’t know yet that our brains can learn faster and more efficiently, but we have no clue about it. Something completely unknown thing. These are things that comes completely from unknown to us. Do we have to teach it? How we teach? Can we teach it, if by definition, we do not know what kind of situations are coming at us? I think if you are mentally strong it’s easier to handle those kind of things, and humans are very good at adapting to different situations. We can prepare our students to be more mentally strong and help them to be strong in hard situations. That’s about it, that we can do.

 

Unknown knowns

  • The things that we know but are unaware of knowing.

Most interesting of all maybe. In Slavoj Zizek’s words: “these are things that exist and have been influencing our life and our approach to reality, but we are unaware of knowing them, or we do not realize their value, or worst we refuse to acknowledge knowing them”. Like Freudian unconscious. How aware are we in our teaching methods? We have read and read about good teaching ways, but how much our past life experience affects us? Do we force some kind of ideology in to our pupils? Ideology and customs that were taught to us and we are influenced by them (unknowingly). Like for example how to behave in different social situations, who to listen, who to not, etc. How we even define ideology today? Believe yourself, do what you want, we are all individuals, you can do anything in your life. etc. How much that kind of attitude we pour in to our students? Those attributes sound good in principle, but democracy to Iraq sounded good too.

 

Written by Samppa Toivonen

Why not? Let’s try it!

Most of the time, you can notice that the student who you work whit is going to be ok later of their life. Some of them are maybe trying to find their own way bit diffrently, but it’s all right as we know. In my life I have admired handful of my friends who know what they want in their life. I appreciate that they are willing to do the work what is required to be great in what they do. I did not know what I wanted to be professionally.  So, my way to find a job what I liked happened by accident. It was not planned at all and I was saying to myself

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During my childhood I was lucky that my parents encouraged me and they did not criticize me. Of course, there was times of tough love, but it was needed for sure. One of the best things what I managed to get from my parents was the attitude that I’m going to be ok whatever happens.

A few months ago I was looking my Instagram and I noticed one picture from one of the all-time greats in basketball.  He is Ray Allen and during his career as a professional basketball player he had amazing work ethic. Everyday he worked his craft and became one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA’s history. The headline of the picture that he posted was 10 Things that require zero talent.

10 THINGS

10 THINGS THAT REQUIRE ZERO TALENT

Nowadays one of my biggest challenges is trying to make the changes in students mindsets. In  short term and in long term it is difficult to make difference in students behavior. But as we all know positive mindset is infectious. Doing things a little bit differently is what keeps me going and gives me the edge who I am as a teacher. Once in the while it’s good to remind ourselves of these 10 talents and lets try, why not?

 

Written by Mikko Hankaniemi

Photo by Brandi Rett on Unsplash