Saturday, October 29, 2011

How Full is Your Bucket?

At Poplar Bluff Junior High School we started a professional studies book club that meets on a monthly basis. The second book we chose to read was "How Full is Your Bucket?" by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton. Here are the notes I provided the book club members to help fuel and guide our discussion:

Chapter 1: Negativity kills

- How do you respond to negativity?  What strategies do you employ to keep negativity out of your life?

- Do you ever find yourself being overly negative?  Do people view you as a positive or negative influence?      

Chapter 2: Positivity, negativity, productivity

- “It’s true that most of our negative experiences will not kill us, yet they can slowly but surely erode our well-being and productivity.” Pg. 15

- How often do you receive recognition and praise?  How did you feel afterward?  Do you deserve recognition and praise for doing your job?

- How do we prevent overly negative people from spreading their negativity?  

- “It is possible for just one or two people to poison an entire workplace.” Pg. 25 - Do you believe this?  As a member of an organization, do you feel comfortable giving one or two people that much power?  

Chapter 3: Every moment matters

- Remember a time when you got good news, praise, or recognition that filled your bucket…how long did it take before a negative person emptied your bucket?   

- As educators, do we focus on the strengths or weaknesses of our students?  Do you agree with Rath’s belief that we should concentrate on what people do well, rather than what they do not do well?

- “Positivity must be grounded in reality.” Pg. 45 - Is it possible to give too much praise?  Do we ever give insincere/artificial praise?  Is there a difference between insincere/artificial praise… and lying to avoid confrontation or hurting one’s feelings?

Chapter 4: Tom’s story: An overflowing bucket?

- Is being born a negative person a valid excuse when emptying the buckets of others?  If our natural disposition is to be negative, can we change?

- “I was able to strive for greatness in my area of natural talent.” Pg. 55 - Do we help our students find situations and circumstances where we know they will be successful and excel?

- Do the people you spend a majority of your time with help to fill your bucket?  

Chapter 5: Making it personal

- “Recognition is most appreciated and effective when it is individualized, specific, and deserved.” Pg. 62 - How can we make sure we provide individualized, specific, and deserved recognition for all of our students?

- “The recognition & praise you provide must have meaning that is specific to each individual.” Pg. 66

- How would Rath respond to a teacher of the month award?  Are these awards effectively recognizing and praising teachers in an individualized, specific, and deserving manner?

“You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people to get what they want.” Zig Ziglar

Chapter 6: Five strategies for increasing positive emotions

1. Prevent bucket dipping: Ask yourself…am I adding to or taking from the bucket?   

2. Shine a light on what is right: Do you concentrate on success or failure (strengths or weaknesses)?

3. Make best friends: Friends help add to and build up your bucket.

4. Give unexpectedly: Small unexpected bucket fillers can have a huge impact.

5. Reverse the golden rule: Put the needs of others before yours…take care of their bucket, and they will take care of yours.