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Don't Say Anything if You Have Nothing to Say

At Duke School, we had decided that we needed to change our math curriculum. We put together a taskforce which made a recommendation to the academic dean and the division directors. Unfortunately, those leaders disagreed with parts of the recommendation and with each other about which program to move to (or whether we should have a specific program at all.) They brought their disagreement to me to make a final decision.

I have little expertise in selecting math curriculum, so instead of contributing substantively to the discussion, I listened to the debate while asking a few questions. As the conversation evolved, the academic leaders came to a consensus that made sense for the students in their different divisions. My ill-informed view was not needed.

Sometimes a leader feels like she must contribute even if she doesn't have anything productive to say. Fight that urge. It is ok to be quiet if you have nothing helpful to add and you do not need to make the decision.

Let others have the floor and see where it leads.

1 Comment

Reminded of what former Cleveland Browns Head Coach Sam Rutigliano said was the best advice his father gave him: "If you ever get a chance to keep your mouth shut, do it."

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