Thank you for your reflections, betterslac and scotia. Yes, I'm learning quickly, to be sure. I'm very aware of how far I've come in just seven months in this new position; I'm much more direct, honest, and confident in setting boundaries, expressing my opinions, and making decisions. I never understood how some of my older and more experienced colleagues could firmly say to a student (or other colleagues), "That is not acceptable," or "This is a weak area you really need to work on." I worried so much about hurting people or not being liked. I've been practicing a lot, and find myself much more comfortable being firm, clear, and unapologetic. I can express warmth in other areas and other interactions, but sometimes people need to hear the truth. I've noticed also that people really respond positively to this firmness, i.e., in most cases, I haven't experienced any hostility or retaliation... for the most part, it garners respect. It's partly a matter of professional maturity, but for me it's also taken some personal work in self-trust and honest expression.
Ahh, yes. The wonderful world of accountability. Although it seems to be the flip side of compassion, they really are on the same coin: holding students, staff, faculty accountable is actually showing them compassion