One of my roles at The Mandt System, in addition to training instructors, is to occasionally provide IT support to instructors who need assistance getting or setting up the materials they need to teach their workshops. I was recently on one of those calls talking an instructor through a process when they said that what I was telling them to do wasn’t working. Based on what the person was telling me, I knew exactly what they were doing wrong. Instead of telling the person that they had done something wrong, I asked a question starting with “Is it possible that…”. The instructor checked and confirmed that what I asked had occurred. They then made the comment about what I said being a good Mandt response which is the reason this interaction stood out to me.

This got me thinking about how important it is that we treat people with respect as we provide correction and guidance. It’s so easy to simply tell people that they are doing something wrong especially when we are in a position of authority in the person’s life. Supervisors, teachers, DSPs, and guardians are all in positions where it can become easy for them to correct others in ways that feel disrespectful to the person receiving the correction. It was easier for me to be respectfully in this situation because I was in a position where I was providing customer service. I can think of times in instructor workshops, where I am responsible for having participants demonstrate a physical skill correctly, that I have provided correction and then thought that I should have done it in a more respectful way.

In The Mandt System, we believe that healthy relationships are the foundation of effective services. Relationships are built as we interact with others in ways that communicate dignity and respect in all of our interactions with others, including when we have to provide correction. This is a process that takes time and requires us to think before we act. The more we practice it, the easier and more natural it becomes.

Doug ZehrVogt, Mandt System Faculty