Question: PTO Negativity

I have recently joined my PTO and will be a board member for the next school year. I have lots of new ideas that might benefit the PTO and have experience that could be used to enhance our current and future PTO but have been met with such opposition and negativity from the President. I have tried discussing my opinions privately but before I am able to finish speaking the President becomes extremely defensive and condescending. I am trying to be direct and not fall to complaining to others but like many other PTO parents, am beginning to get frustrated with the lack of respect. There's a lot of negative gossip about the President and although I hate gossip - I can now see why people are doing it. Is there anyway to work through this? How do I help the others in the PTO move away from gossiping? How do I get through to the President?

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
For starters, congratulations for your new role in your PTO! It sounds like you are trying to work with the president and that's a good start. Often, it can take a little time to figure out how to work best together. Have you tried meeting with her in a casual atmosphere (maybe over coffee) to talk about how you can work together? This may sound simplistic, but sometimes it works to just ask someone: How do you like to work together? How do you like to hear about new ideas? She may be feeling a little intimidated by you as a new person with lots of ideas and you may feel she is being distant or a little haughty. If you can communicate that your goal is to do the best job you can for the PTO (and not steal her job) she may become less defensive. As far as the group gossip is concerned (which is not at all uncommon), your best bet is to lead by example. If you set a respectful tone and don't participate in that kind of destructive talk, you may help diminish it.

Community Advice

dclaudew writes:
No organization wants a new problem solver. Have you ever found your technique to be effective? You can certainly solve the lack of respect issue by simply being respectful yourself. What you need to do, IMHO, is to be a worker bee. Every organization needs these. Discard all your ideas. Ask how you can help. Take any position assigned and just do it well (perhaps add a tiny amount of innovation). Two things will happen: (1) You will find, as you walk in your organization's shoes, that some of its wacky policies actually make sense, and do not require your initial solutions, and (2) You will earn the respect that you are not currently giving others, and these new friends will begin to listen to your ideas, assuming you haven't found all of your first impressions to be inappropriate for your organization.

Community Advice

tyradorman writes:
I know just what you are saying! I understand how some could become annoyed at us new and ambitious members, but did they forget how they felt when they first got involved? Im sure they had some of that drive also right? I am realizing that this job is more about personal issues than it ever has been for the children in our school, and its going to take time to get this all to run smoother. AND for me to practice working on my reactions to people who are difficult. I was suprised to see what dclaudew said. "Discard all of your ideas", well if you are thinking about our children, and how to make our schools the best atmosphere for them, and the best they can be, there are no bad ideas, and those in charge should listen, and be respectful, and welcome them, or you will not have anyone new helping, and be creating many other issues. Good luck, and may be find a way to all deal with eachother in a nice manner, realizing that most everyone has good inentions when we set out to do things.

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