3 Easy Ways to Break Your Staff Out Of Their Comfort Zone

It’s time for you and your staff to mix up the old routines!

Breaking free from your comfort zone

With change comes resistance. If you want to start the school year by making over anything from IEP procedures to your whole science program—don’t let blank stares or a lack of enthusiasm hold you back.

But, know this going in: Change is scary.

The set routines your staff know well on are like a favorite jacket—comfortable and easy.. Take them away and it’s like stepping outside naked. Don’t let that deter you. It’s been proven that rising to the occasion and achieving what you didn’t think possible starts to feel like second nature when you actually practice stepping out of your comfort zone.

Sometimes, however, it takes a little prodding and a lot of hand-hand holding to get there. As a fearless leader who embraces and supports change, you can subtly make the case for how passion and enthusiasm is contagious!

Here are three easy and proven ways to get your staff out of their ruts.

1.Reward the most innovative

Start the year at your first faculty meeting with a challenge. Empower your staff to find things that need to change within your school — we’re talking the small (a new logo for email) to the huge (a new program to incentivize students to read more)–and propose the solution. Tell them to think out of the box and to be ready to take charge and implement their ideas. And then every month, reward those big thinkers. Share their ideas and progress with the entire staff and even offer prizes quarterly for those who get their ideas off the ground. You’re keeping the momentum going all year long and letting your staff know you’re cheering them on every step of the way.

2. Learn from failure

Always make sure your team knows that failure is a part of learning and growing. If the expectations are set so it’s all or nothing when taking on new projects, you’re just setting everyone up to fail. Many big Fortune 500 companies actually cite their biggest failures as producing the most insight needed for their biggest successes. So, when anything fails, the most important thing you can do is discuss openly, note what there is to learn and implore your staff to keep thinking big.

3. Team building

Although team-building sounds cliche, they be an invaluable tool. Team-building exercises that push mental and even physical limits will strengthen your professional growth muscles. And feeling encouragement from peers will boost confidence. Coming together during team-building exercises sets the tone that you’re fostering a culture of risk-taking and big idea implementing. And, don’t worry, team building has come a long way from trust falls and ropes courses. You could play improv based games at a faculty meeting or see if anyone would be up for an off-campus challenge such as a puzzle/escape room.

Posted by Lauren Brown West-Rosenthal

Lauren West-Rosenthal is a senior editor at WeAreTeachers. In the fourth grade, she started writing "bonus chapters" to her favorite books. Her teacher was impressed -- and encouraging -- and a vast writing career was born!

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