The Dangers of Leadership

Leadership is a constant but is most commonly recognized by others during change processes or big events. Leadership occurs daily in the simplest moments. Leaders are always “on” as they must respond to staff, situations and the community. As a leader, you are always putting yourself on the line where others may judge you and challenge your actions and decisions.  The challenge of leadership is that you can build trust and help empower others to make change, or if your actions and decisions are not matching the vision, then you can lose trust and credibility. Leading is hard, really hard but that is also what makes it special.  Leadership growth happens daily over a long time in many different areas as our challenges are continuous and changing.  In this blog post we look at the dangers of leadership and what you can do to avoid these blindspots so you can lead with purpose, authenticity and unapologetic passion to make positive change.

The Dangers of leading others and solutions for each challenge 

  1. The change process

Leading schools means there are times we must embark upon change in an effort to strive for improvement. When this occurs, the process requires others to change their attitudes, their values or behaviors. The deeper the change then the greater the amount of new learning and resistance that will come.  As leaders drive the change process they do put themselves in a position where they will face dangers.  These dangers include where others try to marginalize you,  divert your work, attack your character or try to provide special appeals that cause you to lose focus in your work.

Solution

As a leader you lead or are involved in the work. But at times, you must step back, observe the process and then get back in the middle of the work to make necessary adjustments.  Here are some helpful strategies to safeguard against common leadership traps including:

  • You must identify what type of challenge you are facing. Is it a challenge that requires readjusting plans or a much harder one where people function within the team is dysfunctional and must be addressed and fixed.
  • Find ways to measure the progress along the way so adjustments can be made if necessary.
  • Listen to the people and their concerns.
  • Read the behaviors of your superiors to determine if they still support your work.

Leaders must have a vision and a plan, but you cannot script from moment to moment what happens. We must adapt to the circumstances. I think this past year and a half has provided everyone with an example of this situation. However, leaders can navigate through these hurdles by using your credibility, leading with character and modeling competence.

  1. Leading in isolation 

Typically in a district there is 1 Superintendent and within a building there is 1 principal. The way we structure our systems almost puts oneself in a position where you are isolated.  If you lead in isolation, you are putting yourself in a situation where you are not aware of your own blindspots.  This can lead to uncertainty from others, inaccurate information or miscommunication.

Solution

There is  importance in finding accountability partners as they can provide protection and help create alliances that support your work.  When you work with others, it is important we model the calm, visionary approach and intentional purpose to our work.  We do this by: 

  • Accepting responsibility for your part in the mess.
  • Acknowledge to others that during a change process there will be some loss of what we have known in the pursuit of a new and unknown better. 
  • Model the calming and positive behavior so others will follow you because they trust you as you model competence in your actions and character in your decisions.
  • Accept that there will be some individuals who won’t join the cause but together we will stay united in pursuit of a new better.
  1. Empowering others but they lead in a different way

There has been much research shared about the importance of empowering others. But what happens when they lead in a way that you disagree with or take away from the purpose of the work. Despite your best efforts to help groom others for this purpose, we must provide them the opportunity to lead as not only is shared leadership the best way to improve an organization but it also helps others to grow. 

Solution 

  • Create a trust with those you work with so you can help tackle the challenges together.
  • Be a thermostat and control the temperature of the process by applying tension, and at times reducing the tension, in response to what your staff needs.  This means in many ways you can lead “from the side” and apply or reduce the tension appropriately by adjusting timelines or expectations.
  • Pace the work so it is consistent without too many interruptions. Also provide points of feedback with those that are leading so it is natural and the work can be adapted without damaging the overall plan.
  • If you have trust with the individuals, don’t hesitate to sit down and have a real conversation.  Remember that as you grow in your leadership your desire to lead must be greater than your desire to be liked.  Leaders must have honest conversations and that may mean sharing difficult news with a colleague.
  1. The Hurdles of change process takes the purpose away

Leading others and the change process has constant interruptions and new challenges. You cannot predict these as COVID, Budget implications, new societal trends, and all change the work and scope of the process.  No one can predict these unannounced challenges, but the key is how we respond.

Solution

  • Leaders must be steady in the change process and keep people focused. At times this will involve taking the heat but the leader must help others keep the focus of the work at the heart of the decisions. This can be achieved by sharing perspectives and stories to help people remember their purpose.
  • Leaders can help everyone know the importance of  how we must find a balance in our lives. We must assess the current reality, engage those in our working environment and we must pay attention to ourselves so we have a good balance so we can give our best to others. 

In the past several years, the school I serve has adopted a new bell schedule, developed a new mission statement, gone to a 1:1 student device rollout, switched to a student centered approach that moves us away from traditional practices and now we are renewing our work with PLC’s and formative assessments. In addition, we have had to learn how to deal and work with COVID and its impacts.  We have definitely been working through the change process.  This concept of understanding the dangers of leadership has allowed me to maintain a balance, importance of getting perspective from others to avoid blindspots or negative pushback.  Leadership is hard work, almost to the point currently where very few people will be able to have sustained leadership work over many years due to the many negative impacts. Leadership is all about influencing the staff you work with while continually trying to improve. This requires change and in our current reality, the change is accelerating. 

Educators must remember that creating positive change must be done with intentional efforts that transform the organization with a focus on the culture, learning and leading people. This occurs when a leader understands the dangers of the leadership journey. Growing as a leader can only happen if you intentionally spend time looking at your mistakes, learning from experiences/others and spend time stretching yourself within your strength zone.  It is never too late to change or adapt to create something better. We owe that to our students and staff that we serve. I encourage you to reflect and better understand “Dangers of Leadership” as a leader within your journey. Comment below or reach out to me at leadlearnerperspectives@gmail.com

Learn

Engage

Adapt

Delegate

Empower

Reflect

Serve

How to play the game

The start of the 2021-2022 school year is here.  Hard to believe what all educators went through last year and now we are ready to tackle the challenges of another school year with new obstacles.  Or, are we ready?  It is important that leaders understand how to play the game as far as leadership journey as it is never ending.  In this blog post we take a look at what aspects allow leaders to continually grow over time, not just within one school year or position.  Leadership growth happens daily over a long time in many different areas as our challenges are continuous and changing.  Yes, leaders recognize that they ultimately must help others grow and develop, but they must first grow themselves that then leads to organizational growth. Continual improvement as a leader combines reflecting on past experiences and mistakes, but then using that to learn so it can be applied moving forward to your professional and positional growth with a mindset focused on visionary and innovative practices.

How to play the game of leadership 

Some fall into the trap of thinking once they get a certain position or title they have arrived.  They believe that others will respect them for simply that role, their ideas and others will automatically do things they say to improve the school organization.  There may also be instances where some leaders get focused on the wrong things that distract or take away from the important parts of leadership that previously allowed prior success to occur in the first place.  So what are the components of the leadership journey that one can use to play the game so there is continual improvement for the school focused on the right things?  These are big picture items that one must keep in front of you at all times and use as a guide to your decisions and incorporate with your core values as a leader.  

  1. Vision focused on continual improvement

Most educators recognize culture is important, but it is the MOST important part of successful schools.  Culture represents the cumulative effect of all the behaviors of the students/staff and parents. In other words, it is how the school operates. It is also one of the hardest areas to develop or enhance as it takes time and is a process.  Any educator will have setbacks or tough moments but the culture will support one another and a positive culture will keep everyone “rowing the boat” in the same direction even in the most challenging times. Leaders must take responsibility for their building’s culture and lead by modeling patience, grace and flexibility. Culture is a part of the vision of leading others. Leaders must help their school community define and keep their vision at the center of their decisions.  As society is rapidly changing, so is the rate of change for schools. This may lead to some schools changing their goals or work frequently until they find “what sticks.” Great schools know their purpose and remain consistent with their work – they simply focus on getting better within those areas over time. WIthin this work, they remain INTENTIONAL and have a laser like focus that starts with culture.  

  1. Build trust and relationships with People

The purpose of schools is to help ALL students learn at high levels and develop key content learning, skills and dispositions. This occurs when leaders focus on supporting the people who work directly with the students – both the teachers and families. Great schools recognize the importance of engaging families and creating ways to get them into the building so they feel connected to the school, share ideas and concerns, support the work of the school and help drive a positive culture. Leaders also recognize the importance of supporting staff so there is Shared Leadership.  A great principal can have a positive impact upon a school, but when the principal develops other leaders then there is a multiplier effect.  The more leaders you have then the more ways your school moves forward and meets the needs of students who have diverse needs.  It allows the school to function at a much higher level as more staff are “focused on becoming the best for the team, not the best on the team.”  Building trust takes time but leaders can do this by leading with character (how they treat others) + competence (how well they lead others) and being consistent with their practices.  This allows staff and families to trust the leader and help support the work so everyone is focused on the same purpose.

  1. Learn from other leaders who push you to get better

Educators who grow into impactful and great leaders recognize the importance of connecting with others. They recognize that they do not know it all – they are vulnerable and have a willingness to admit that they can learn from others.  I read recently where John Maxwell shared “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. So as a leader, if you are not connecting to other like minded educators who are humble about their work but yet hungry to improve and passionate about learning then you have put a lid on your potential. When you connect to leaders who are doing it better, then it stretches your thinking and provides different perspectives which in turn challenges the status quo.  No single person has it figured out.  It is just not possible. As a result, the best way to learn nuggets of leadership and then apply to those you serve is to connect with others, listen, ask questions and see what can be applied to lead your organization. The medium or methods you use to connect to others may vary but remember that who you spend the majority of your time with will determine in many ways your rate of growth – so find ways to connect with those that will challenge your thinking, give different perspectives and accelerate your rate of growth. Be a learner, a listener and understand everyone has something of value to share. While most people fall back to average over time as they lose their purpose, some are fortunate to have Mentors and as a result, continual improvement is at the heart of their journey. This is important as mentors help drive leadership improvement. 

  1. Be able to adapt to changing needs

The last year taught us many things and one of those was the importance of being able to adapt to changing circumstances.  Some do this better than others. When a leader is able to adapt it allows the school and staff/families to have a sense of trust and “we got this” where the focus doesn’t waiver from what is best for kids. Impactful leaders enjoy change as they recognize that is how we improve. In fact, some leaders love the unknown and grow through changes as then it allows the organization to continually improve and focus on the future – not the past.  Leaders create the structure and systems within their schools to allow for this pivot but they lead with:

  • Humility and Grace
  • Flexibility 
  • Learn with others and admit  you don’t know it all  
  1. Lead with courage and vulnerability 

Leadership isn’t easy and at many times there will be people unhappy with your decisions.  Leading others requires that you put yourself on the line. The current society and COVID challenges impacts require leaders to continually adapt but yet provide consistency and sustainability for their organization. This is hard work and at times, we will make mistakes. But leaders understand the hard part of leading is what makes leadership and learning with others great. This mindset is what is needed to create excellence in schools.  Along the way, leaders must incorporate the important aspects of listening, reflection and then action into their work.  We must lead and model vulnerability in our actions. Leaders are able to adapt quickly, know the strengths of those you serve and empower them to help drive positive change within your organization.  Leading others is a passion as it provides meaning and purpose in our life so the leadership journey is well worth the risk.  

Educators must remember that creating positive change must be done with intentional efforts that transform the organization with a focus on the culture, learning and leading people. This occurs when a leader understands how to play the game of the leadership journey. Growing as a leader can only happen if you intentionally spend time looking at your mistakes, learning from experiences/others and spend time stretching yourself within your strength zone.  It is never too late to change or adapt to create something better. We owe that to our students and staff that we serve. I encourage you to reflect and better understand “How to Play the Game” as a leader within your journey. Comment below or reach out to me at leadlearnerperspectives@gmail.com

Learn

Engage

Adapt

Delegate

Empower

Reflect

Serve

The Conversation is the relationship

As we near the start of school I recognize my plate will become overflowing with responsibilities and my time will be very limited.  The start of each school year is always special and enjoyable, even when there are still many unknowns related to COVID, or just the typical start to the year.  As I reflected last week as I enjoyed my morning coffee looking at my calendar already filled with meetings, “to do” lists and much more; I remembered the most important part of the school year will be welcoming our staff back and taking the time to have connections with students and families. Yes, there will be so many demands upon my shoulders but the conversation is the relationship that will put people at the heart and center of my focus and work is most important.  This is always important work but even more so as we try to work through another year with COVID mitigation measures and the varied emotions attached to that topic. Here are some key points to keep in mind why you put people and the conversations with them at the focus of your time and efforts despite a tremendous workload:

  • Administratively we recognize we have many things to do, but culture is most important and it takes time (“Rome wasn’t built in a day”). It will be very important to “go slow to go fast” with your workload and welcome our staff back as they filter back in the buildings by having conversations with each of them, checking in on them and seeing how they are doing. It is with the utmost importance to make them feel like they are the most important person in the room when they are visiting with me. This sincere and genuine time with a staff member is hard during a school year so taking time early before the year starts to reconnect provides the framework for strong relationships.
  • The more I talk with each staff member, it helps me to know them a little more about them including their passions, strengths and how I can help them develop as a leader. More importantly, it helps to strengthen the trust.
  • As we talk, most often staff will share things they have thought about over summer and want to try this coming year.  I love when staff have ideas and I want to make sure they know they have the “green light” to try new ideas when it is good for kids and have invested their time/effort into the work to innovate and improve. This support for their ideas helps to cement the concept of  “I support their work”. I recognize that some of these practices may fail, others may be a win. In the big picture, when you take time to listen to an educator and support their ideas then you are creating the conditions where staff are developing as leaders. As an administrator, I remind myself that my role is “to develop my staff so they can become leaders and leave but to treat them well enough so they don’t want to leave”.
  • Research often talks about data and using results to improve and yes, that is very important. But not everything can be counted as data.  When you take the time to have a conversation with someone it makes them feel like they are part of a team.  You cannot measure gratitude, teamwork and positivity but you can see it and feel it.  So can our kids and parents too.
  • I love walking the building the days leading up to staff returning to see teachers working in their rooms to get ready for the new year.  It provides those moments of authentic conversations with staff that they will remember – when you just popped in to say “hi” and 30 minutes later you left but the words and discussion provided the uplifting feeling and passion for the entire year. Those things don’t happen unless I get out of my office and go to the people.
  • When parents come into the office, that 1 minute conversation with them about their day or how I can help them may seem like a small gesture. But for a parent, they will remember that you took time out of your day to help them. That initial impression is what matters and what they will remember. It creates trust and confidence in you, as the leader, and the school.  That trust is what allows schools and families to partner together to create uncommon experiences for kids.
  • Seeing students in the school prior to the 1st day is always special. Special for educators as that is why we want into this field – to help youngsters improve and find success. For students, those moments when you stop by as you were walking down the hallway to check on them and when you said their name – well it creates a sense of “family” and that school does care about them as a person. The 30 second interaction in a hallway where you stopped to talk to them may be the highlight of their day and give them the reassurance that the school year will be a great one.

Educators must remember that creating positive change must be done with intentional efforts that transform the organization with a focus on the culture, learning and leading people.  This starts with a leader who understands the importance of taking the time to visit with others as the “conversations is the relationship” and provides a focus on achieving excellence together.  The intentional conversations creates the framework for success and builds a solid foundation that all school improvement efforts can rest upon. It also builds trust in our most important school resources – our people.   It is never too late to change or adapt to create something better. We owe that to our students and staff that we serve. I encourage you to reflect and share feedback upon “The conversation is the relationship.”  Comment below or reach out to me at leadlearnerperspectives@gmail.com

Learn

Engage

Adapt

Delegate

Empower

Reflect

Serve

The Power of Windows and Mirrors

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Summer is here and for educators it provides a much needed rest time and break.  This sacred time is most important for recharge, getting away and reconnecting that maybe isn’t possible during the school year.  Summer also affords itself more time for leaders, where there are less interruptions, to have more dedicated time for intentional thoughts where ideas can be evaluated. I like to think of summer as providing the opportunity to use the Power of Windows and Mirrors where we look back (mirrors) and reflect to help us learn, adjust and plan a vision to look forward (windows).

Leaders recognize that they ultimately must help others grow and develop, but they must first grow themselves. Summer is a great opportunity to spend time on the “mirrors” – reflecting on past years experiences, mistakes, learning from failures so it can be applied moving forward to your professional and positional growth. 

Mirrors (reflecting upon past experiences)

Here are questions I use with others that I serve so they can provide me feedback.

  • What do I do well leading our school improvement efforts?
  • What are areas of this work that need to be improved to support you?
  • How can my communication strategies be improved to better inform you?
  • What are areas where I have challenged the status quo that have resulted in improved efforts within our school and student learning?
  • What are areas that I have blinspots where I am not aware that it is detracting from our efforts?

Learning from my staff, students and parents this late spring this feedback allowed me to understand the following themes:

  • What others say I do well.
  • What do I do that has a productive return for my school community?
  • What do I do that I can keep getting better at.
  • Are the efforts of our work helping  the people I serve improve and be better educators for kids?

I firmly believe as a leader that it is essential to have other like minded educators to learn from and to push my thinking.  I asked my PLN folks and my accountability partners some of the following questions as well as they have seen my innovative and reflective work over a period of time.  This provided much needed insight about my work that sometimes the school community may not fully understand.

  • What should I learn from you?
  • How has failure shaped you?
  • What is your passion and where do you spend your time and effort to grow in that area?
  • What did you do as a leader as far as experiences that I should do as a leader?

Windows (what practices will I put in place moving forward)

The opportunity to learn from others about my work and for me to reflect upon my own work allowed me to further develop my core beliefs. This feedback served as “windows” or things that I must continue to implement as part of my work moving forwards including:

  • Importance of humility and vulnerability 
  • Inspire a shared effort 
  • Leaders model character in their decision making 
  • Communication is essential to success
  • Constant learning and applying it to your role is vital 

These affirmations allowed me then to set goals for myself and involve our building leadership team to set school improvement goals for our school. To help clarify and be intentional with efforts even more, I developed a 30 day x 60 day x 90 day plan for my own growth as a leader and also a plan for leading our school. I highly encourage all leaders to set this type of timeframe as it allows you to be intentional with your time and efforts and have a daily focus on your work. Here are the “window” aspects that I developed for my growth areas from the “mirror” activities:

  • Be intentional with daily habits of learning. 
  • Stretch myself outside of my comfort zone (but within my strength zone) so I can experience maximum growth.
  • Connect with others at deeper levels to ensure we have trusting relationships. 
  • Be courageous in my journey to apply my work to new situations. 
  • Develop others as leaders by:
    • Help others learn what their strengths are. 
    • Help coach others to set goals where they stretch themselves. 

Educators must remember that creating positive change must be done with intentional efforts that transform the organization with a focus on the culture, learning and leading people.  This starts with a leader reflecting upon the past to put strategies in place for the future so there is a focus on achieving excellence together.  Leaders should do this work with others for their organizational growth but they must also do these same practices about themselves so they grow as a leader too. This learning can only happen if you intentionally spend time looking at your mistakes, learning from experiences and spend time stretching yourself within your strength zone. Putting your thoughts down on paper in the form of a 30 x 60 x 90 day plan will provide greater focus to the work moving forward.  It is never too late to change or adapt to create something better. We owe that to our students and staff that we serve. I encourage you to reflect and better understand “The Power of Windows and Mirrors” as a leader. Comment below or reach out to me at leadlearnerperspectives@gmail.com

Learn

Engage

Adapt

Delegate

Empower

Reflect

Serve

The Barriers to Excellence

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In the past years I had many opportunities to listen, learn and develop through my interactions with other like minded educators.  These are educators who are humble as a leader as their focus is on those they serve but they are also hungry to grow with their skills as a leader and increase their level of influence.  This past year, we all embraced the necessity for even more sharing and support of leaders across our country as we all navigated through the pandemic.  As we now head into summer, I reflect upon the many educators I have had the pleasure to get to know through their stories, challenges and hurdles they have encountered along their leadership journey.  In any role, there are challenges but the higher you go in leadership the greater the obstacles to success.  I have learned that there are Barriers to Excellence or a lid to someone’s growth in any organization.  The key as a leader is do you recognize these barriers and find solutions or do you allow the situation to control you and your growth process to excellence. Below are the Barriers to Excellence that any leader will encounter at various points in their leadership journey and for each barrier we listed key strategies to use to counteract these potential impacts so leaders can be their personal best.

Barriers to Excellence

  • Lack of consistent and clear communication
  • Lack of Trust 
  • Inability to adapt 
  • Lack of Visibility
  • Lack of Action Orientation 
  • Isolation

Here are the same barriers with the strategies to use to overcome the challenge and strive for personal excellence.

  1. Lack of consistent and clear communication

Strategies to use to implement effective communication

Effective leaders articulate their vision with clarity and emotionally connect with their audience. When they communicate, they are concise, use simple language and get feedback from stakeholders to make informed decisions by listening to all perspectives. When planning to communicate a vision for their school or organization, to create effective communication a leader should ask themselves the following questions that can be embedded in their messaging: 

  • What do I want others to see in our organization (do I give them an example)?
  • What do I want others to know (do I communicate how everyone contributes to our progress)?
  • What do I want others to feel about our work (how can I empower them)?
  • What do I want them to do (do I provide action steps)?

This type of information shared with others allows the communication to feel more like a conversation rather than a directive and inspires others to see the leader’s purpose and vision for improvement.

  1. Lack of trust 

Strategies to use to develop Trust 

It is a challenge to develop trust as a leader as you are the one holding others accountable for levels of progress or performance. For schools, the leader is asking educators to make change or progress during the most challenging times. This is where trust is even more critical, as it allows everyone to believe in your purpose and guidance for the school community as they see you as a competent leader and an effective one. As John Maxwell points out, “Most important is that people don’t need a motto but rather a model to see.  The more credible you are the more confidence people have in you and then you have more influence.”  

Trust is a big concept with a variety of potential topics but when you break it down it comes back to the character of the leader. Do you lead with humility, vulnerability and genuine concern for others? Character is what distinguishes great leaders from others. Modeling the virtues and matching it to your words speaks volumes to people. Leaders can be demanding without being demeaning as you can model and lead with kindness, positivity and compassion while leading the way with high work standards. Trust endures in an organization if the leaders are consistent with their focus, reliable with their efforts and actions and expect the same from themselves as they do of others.

  1. Inability to adjust 

Strategies so you can adapt

We are in an ever changing world that is rapidly evolving due to the impact of technology, job demands, societal impacts, expectations of schools for students and the various mandates placed on schools from outside forces.  This requires that leaders not only understand all the impacts but most importantly can create their school or organization with the structures and systems that allow everyone to be nimble and adjust to growing changes while keeping the purpose or “North Star” at the center focus of the work. This can be done if leaders are sensitive to the needs of others and see current problems as opportunities.  When leaders involve others in the decision making process it allows new ideas to emerge, best practices shared and  challenges the status quo while keeping the mission/vision of the school community at the center of all decisions.  Leaders are measured by their capacity to stimulate change to meet the needs of others, shape the change and nurture the process 

  1. Lack of visibility 

Strategies for visibility

Even when the best leaders deliver a powerful message that connects to staff and the community, eventually everyone will be looking to the leader to see if they are also living that same expectation. In other words, do the actions of the leader match their words? While most leaders have every intention of being visible to help support the work, many get caught up in endless meetings that are inefficient or the leaders forget how to create change is not by setting another agenda but instead being in the trenches with the staff working with students. This allows the leader to see the barriers, remove those issues and help inspire the staff to bring their best every day. As Todd Whitaker would say, “leaders lead lead with feet, not from their seat.” It is important that a leader’s calendar has time set aside so they can be present with those that do the real work;  in schools that means getting into buildings and listening to staff and administrators and getting to know the students that we are all here to serve.  When someone is visible it also helps to get authentic examples of the work and get feedback upon the process you have put in place. Leaders must remember it’s not about being liked but rather it is important to be respected.  Leaders must ask for feedback so others are involved and feel like they are part of the work. When you are visible that respect will be formed as staff know you are placing an importance upon their work and they will see/feel your support.

  1. Lack of action orientation 

Strategies to create action

I have seen some outstanding stories and messages delivered by leaders. Everyone enjoyed their sharing.  But yet, over time, there were not actionable steps or progress made and everyone was content to continue doing what they had been doing previously.  Real leaders create positive change and that only happens if there is action. Yes, leaders should instill hope in others but they must also provide clarity and focus to the work so there are actionable steps for everyone to implement.  People will follow a leader first then the plan, so leaders must always focus on connecting with others and by showing your passion it creates an emotional connection. But leaders also use effective communication to show and lead the work.  Leaders inspire others to act by having a shared vision and intentionality to the work.  Great leaders understand that when to lead is as important as what to do and where to go – there is true importance of timing for when leaders must act.  Leaders accept responsibility for their decisions and celebrate small wins with others but own poor results. It is also important that leaders go first and model the desire to improve and it starts with their daily habits.  This demonstrates competence and instills ownership so accountability measures can be developed within their system so results can be reviewed, data analyzed and next steps determined.

  1. Isolation

Strategies to be connected

Sometimes despite great efforts to improve, leaders when isolated develop blindspots to their thinking and their progress. In fact, they may develop an ego that “I know best” when in reality, they haven’t applied their thinking to a real situation to determine if their ideas truly are successful.  We are “better together” is so true as it allows you to focus on others before self; this increases your influence as a leader when you support and develop others.  Recently, I read a post by author Danny Bauer that shared “in 2020 the Learning Policy Institute and NAESP survey 407 school principals and found that:

  • Only 23% of principals had access to a mentor or coach in the past 2 years.
  • Only 10% of principals who served in high poverty schools had access to a mentor or coach.

If so few leaders are connected where they learn and grow with others, that means most are isolated and over time will become stagnant, have a small frame of reference and will be limited in their growth. Quite frankly, our students and staff deserve the very best so organizations must find ways for leaders to be connected and not rely upon the individual person striving to find connections on their own time and money. There are many important reasons why having connections are important for growing leaders:

  • It allows you to see different perspectives and seek new solutions to your challenges.
  • It further develops your character as you get comfortable with being authentic, leading with vulnerability and admitting that you have still more to learn. It increases your capacity as a leader.
  • Staying connected also allows you to have accountability partners that will help hold you to a standard of excellence, that while done individually, can be done much more effectively together.
  • The regular interactions with others is where transformation and growth occurs as it increases your self awareness, self management, social awareness and ability to manage your relationships.
  • It instills the hunger to grow, passion for learning and recognition that our influence is most when we develop and help develop other leaders.

Educators must remember that creating positive change must be done with intentional efforts that focus on the culture within the organization.  This starts with a leader removing the barriers to excellence.  This learning can only happen if you intentionally remove the barriers to your growth as a leader which will provide greater focus to the work moving forward.  It is never too late to change or adapt to create something better. We owe that to our students and staff that we serve. I encourage you to reflect and better understand “Barriers to Excellence” as a leader. Comment below or reach out to me at leadlearnerperspectives@gmail.com

Learn

Engage

Adapt

Delegate

Empower

Reflect

Serve

Are you Ready to Throw in the Towel?

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The 2020-2021 school year is completed. The “unprecedented year like no other” is finally over. This school year and the workload has impacted all of us. The impact maybe in different ways, but probably includes impacts upon leaders such as:

A. Decision Fatigue – The constant changing health guidelines and mandates caused leaders to continually have to communicate to staff and families updates with changing plans on a weekly and possibly daily basis.

B. Emotional Exhaustion – Leaders had to deal with many more emotions this year including caring for staff/students due to COVID, hearing from upset students, staff and parents about decisions that were made and then the frustration when contract tracing was needed and having to send students home.  Factor in then the typical decisions of running  a school and striving to find new solutions to zoom attendance issues, how to help struggling learners, equity issues etc…All of these decisions were outside of our control but yet were made within our job responsibilities.  

C. Time spent on Management vs Leadership –  Leaders work in schools to help develop others, share a united vision and make changes that improve the organization. However, due to COVID and factors #1-2 listed above, a significant amount of a leader’s time this year was spent on management topics like schedules, instructional practices for virtual-distance learning-hybrid-in person and safety practices and the large amount of time with contract tracing. Management has always been a part of leadership, but when it is the majority of the role it can impact how a  leader functions and the movement that is made for school improvement.

D. Being on 24/7 – Many staff, students and families didn’t know who to reach out to for guidance or when they were frustrated, so they would reach out to school leaders at all times every day of the week. Due to the nature of COVID, the urgency of each situation was real and caused leaders to feel like they always “had to be on”and checking email, phone and messages and responding to those they serve on a timely basis.  The nature of the COVID mitigation measures did make many of these messages urgent as it impacted not just 1 individual but many so leaders would be working at a more frequent level on weekends/evenings than before.   In addition, the social and emotional impact upon students and staff also caused leaders to know that they had to do more now than ever to check on others who may be struggling with anxiety, depression and feeling overwhelmed. Leaders felt compelled to support others; they had to do more and at all times of the day, week and school year.

We all can understand why these items occurred with COVID, but the significance of the impact upon a leader and their role was significant. It impacted their leadership of others and in some cases may have impacted the trajectory of a leader’s role and those they serve within the school community.  Very few practicing school leaders have had the external support, resources, time, and feedback to focus on their own professional and personal growth. In fact,  research shows that  42 percent of principals surveyed indicated they were considering leaving their position (NASSP. EPI) due to these constraints. Among the most common reasons they cite are:

· Working Conditions

· Compensation and Financial Obligations

· High-Stakes Accountability Systems and Evaluation Practices

· Lack of Decision making Authority

· Inadequate Access to Professional Learning Opportunities (NASSP. EPI. 2021). 

With all of this impact, the question becomes “Are you ready to throw in the towel”? If 42 percent of leaders want to leave their positions, that turnover is not going to help the school systems develop a stronger focus on learning. Turnover is going to chip away at the very foundation of our schools and impact further leadership growth.

As I reflect upon my own school year, it was a hard year. In fact, it may have had moments where I did wonder what the end of the school year would look like and how could we support each other to get there?  In those moments, I often reflected back to my purpose of supporting others and asked myself “how can I help inspire others to grow and support each other” and “how can I help us focus on what we can control and not the external distractions”?  I reminded myself that being a leader is needed most during times of distress and this year was most definitely a time when leaders were needed. As I reflect, I hope no leaders throw in the towel on their leadership journey due to this year as it was so different and challenging. I hope leaders remember that we always can make an impact.  At the forefront of being a transformational leader is finding ways to be a positive change agent.  I reassured myself that anyone can be a transformational leader if they:

  • Learn and live good values
  • Value the people they work with and their strengths
  • Collaborate with others to create a strong collective team

In this blog post, I want to share critical aspects of transformational leadership that will allow anyone to support the growth of others and this starts with your own personal and professional growth.  I hope that this blog post helps to remind all of us that despite a very challenging year, we must continue to focus on moving forward and our efforts to positively impact others and not throw in the towel on the most rewarding profession. To maximize your influence and have significant impact for and with others, the following are components for transformational leadership and ones I encourage you to embed as part of your work:

  1. You must have urgency and patience in the work.
  • The urgency means you are committed to making the effort to help others.

Steve Jobs has shared that “people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are usually the ones who do.”  Anyone can dream but transformational leaders understand that you must put dreams into a reality and this starts with having the desire and urgency to act.

  • The patience means we must understand results take time, even more so during a pandemic.

 Leaders who are transformational leaders recognize the importance of action as we influence others the most when we lead by what we model. But we must also be patient as that patience allows great insight and the process of the work to take form. “You can go fast alone or you can go far together”; that phrase reminds me of the importance of patience. 

When we are patient, it allows the leader to:

  • Look back and be grateful
  • Look ahead and be hopeful
  • Look around and be helpful

All of this involves great introspection and reflection.  Patience is one of the hardest components for leaders as they see the importance of urgency but recognize the impact will only be significant and sustained if it involves others and a shared vision. This takes time.

  1. Own your failures to learn and inspire future change.
  • When you reflect and recognize your failures it allows you to gain more self awareness of your strengths and how your limits need to be addressed so the next opportunity has a different outcome.  Sharing your failures with others also demonstrates vulnerability and builds trust with others. During challenges is when leaders are needed most and their trust with others is most revealed.
  1. Empower others to join your efforts
  • You can make an impact by yourself but it will always be much greater if you work together with others and have a combined effort.  Empowering others to join your work not only increases their significance but allows you to grow as a level 5 leader by level of influence.  
  • To empower others, they must first see you as competent and with high character.  This is built and demonstrated with your daily habits. If you demonstrate through your work that you care about the “we” and not the “me” it will resonate with others.  When you lead with humility and make decisions that reflect great integrity and moral compass, it allows others to feel a sense of collective responsibility and greater ownership for them to join the cause.
  1. Start small, celebrate the wins and have the real conversations
  • Any change can happen but to sustain it over time it is very important leaders celebrate the wins along the way that reflect the purpose of the work. No win is too small as we must keep our focus on the right work and help others feel validated for their efforts to the collective vision.
  • Your efforts to make transformational change doesn’t have to be a grand opening ceremony or a massive roll out. In fact, it is most successful when it involves a few key people who embrace the same approach, have the same dedication and desire to make positive change. If each person strives to help others then the impact will be a ten fold approach and build over time.
  • There are times when others may not be on the same pages as you or your team for the shared vision. In those instances, it is important to have the necessary real and authentic conversations that revolve around:
    • Why do we exist in our school organization?
    • What is our shared purpose?
    • How have you worked towards that purpose?
    • Can you commit to our standards of excellence?
    • How can I help you get the support you need so you feel validated and maximized to support our efforts?

For every educator and leader, adversity is a constant reality. There is a lack of time, not enough resources, outdated facilities, resistant staff, and unforeseen obstacles. Leaders recognize that to start the shift towards transformational change, we cannot get caught up in what is wrong but focus our efforts and mindset on how we can transform those around us to inspire a collective change. The transformational shift is really transforming learning cultures by creating collaborative responsibility for taking action to reach collective goals. Transformational leaders focus on creating positive change and this occurs with intentional efforts that meet the needs of the people.   The leadership provides the groundwork for others to provide greater focus to their work moving forward and keeps everyone “rowing the boat in the same direction”. Leaders must continually identify how to see the current reality and prioritize how to be efficient and effective.  It is never too late to change or adapt to create something better. We owe that to our students and staff that we serve. I encourage you to reflect and better understand that you are not ready to throw in the towel but instead refocus your mindset and efforts by considering the 4 strategies mentioned above. Comment below or reach out to me at leadlearnerperspectives@gmail.com

Learn

Engage

Adapt

Delegate

Empower

Reflect

Serve

How do you learn from great leaders?

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During everyone’s journey in their professional career you will work with and come across many people.  Most are caring, supportive and truly good people. Some may even be lifelong learners.  A few are leaders that develop other people/organizations and strive for excellence.  Their greatest gift is that they focus on developing others. This year the COVID pandemic has revealed true leadership and who the transformational leaders are in schools.  If you are fortunate, you may have the chance to work with one of these leaders or have opportunities to connect with them through social media. If this occurs, learning from great leaders and their experiences is one of the greatest opportunities and gifts someone can be given.  In this blog we discuss “How Do You Learn From Great Leaders” so not only are you developing but learning from your mentor or leaders beyond just knowing them.

First it is important to know that everyone has opportunities to grow, learn and develop. It is a choice, a mindset and a passion to strive for excellence. This occurs daily and growth occurs more often from failures than successes. As a result of their reflection and passion to succeed, leaders themselves learn new skills and practices by:

  1. Resources  – This would include learning from books, social media like Twitter, FB and podcasts. Many leaders pursue these resources daily to stretch their thinking and strive to improve.
  2. Experiences  – The experiences that leaders go through provide learning opportunities and activities where they apply their thinking.  They also then reflect upon those experiences for greater motivation and learning opportunities.
  3. Learning from other people – Most leaders started like other typical professionals with a desire to do their best. While most people fall back to average over time, some are fortunate to have Mentors and as a result, they learn from other people. This is important as the mentors or leaders demonstrate the actions and behaviors of leadership. The individual also has the opportunity to not only observe what they model but ask the right questions to learn from their perspective.

We will focus on what types of things should you ask your mentor or leaders.  This allows the greatest gain and insight that leads to deeper conversations and growth in learning.  

Here are the Questions to ask a leader/mentor you work with:

  1. What are your passions that you spend your time on? 
  • This insight will allow you to see most leaders have passions that show a work/life balance and keep them grounded. 
  • You will notice that they have a focus and are intentional with their time.
  1. How has failure shaped you?  
  • This will allow you to remember that most often people fail, not succeed, but from these failures is the greatest opportunity for growth. Please recognize that “Failures do not define you, they refine you.” 
  • It is how the leaders respond from the failures that allows insight into their skill set and why they are successful. 
  • Hearing their experiences will show you how leaders are vulnerable and willing to admit failures but they view that as a learning opportunity.
  1. Who do you know as a leader that I should connect with to learn from as well?
  • This will show you why being connected is so vital as everyone learns from others. This may broaden your network as well.
  1. What experiences as a leader do you suggest that I also consider as a way to build leadership experience?  
  • In this question, it is important to not focus on the title/position but what the experience provided for the person.  In other words, specific jobs have different tasks but typically revolve around leadership traits like Leading people, making decisions, and communication.  
  • Focus on how those experiences developed the skills they learned and now demonstrate.  
  1. How did you develop others and express gratitude to others?  
  • Developing others is the backbone of leadership and learning how they developed their employees lends new ideas and different perspectives.
  • Learning how they appreciate their employees by adding value to their work provides insight into how they care about people.
  1. What are your core values that you have used to guide your professional work and how did you arrive at those?  
  • All leaders have core values that guide their work and is their compass they use to make the hard decisions.  Those conversations will help further lend you perspective and allow you to refine your core values that fit your style of leadership.

Learning from leaders is a great opportunity that no one should pass up without having a conversation with them to learn and develop oneself.  True leadership occurs by intentional efforts when you work extremely hard to improve your own learning and that leads to an improved school. In this instance, to improve yourself you must be intentional to admit you need support and ask a mentor if you can spend time learning from them. By reflecting upon “How do you learn from Great Leaders”, you can self-analyze if you are spending  efforts towards the important and right work. Leaders must continually identify how to see the current reality and prioritize how to be efficient but yet effective.  It is never too late to change or adapt to create something better. We owe that to our students and staff that we serve. 

Comment below or reach out to me at leadlearnerperspectives@gmail.com

Learn 

  Engage 

    Adapt 

       Delegate 

         Empower 

           Reflect  

             Serve 

How to make it through the busiest times

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Each school year inevitably gets very busy and this causes educators to lose track of their purpose and impacts their effectiveness. April and May might be the busiest months for school leaders.  This includes finishing standardized testing, teacher appraisals, budgeting, hiring staff and completing end of year events.  As you can see, there is much on a leader’s shoulders and time is in short supply.  The tasks listed above did not even include the typical but very important school day happenings such as building relationships and culture, supporting staff and encouraging students in their efforts as they develop into learners in a rapidly changing world. This is the real work and one that leaders cannot lose sight of.  With everything happening,  the question becomes “how do we make it through the busiest times” as both internal and external forces are putting too many demands upon an already busy schedule. This blog post focuses on how leaders can be both efficient with time and effective in leading their school leaders.

This starts with a“focus on the things that you can control”.  As a leader, we must prioritize our work and know what must be done now and what can wait (and what may not get done and that is ok).  This prioritization allows leaders to focus on things they can control and truly focus on things that can make a difference in school…..supporting its people.  

When we think of “focusing on things we can control” that specifically includes using the following strategies:

  1. Importance of your daily routine.

Leaders must take care of themselves in order that they are at their best for staff and students.  They must also be efficient with their time and effective in how they use their time. 

  • Leaders must first recognize the importance of self care and how that allows them to be their best to care for others.  How leaders start their mornings allows them to further learn through reading, listening to podcasts or exercising. This allows them to clear their mind and get ready for the day.  Each person is different but they must have a consistent way to clear their mind and stay sharp in their focus on their work prior to arriving at work each day.
  • How leaders organize their time is very important too.  What can be delegated to trusted staff, what timely tasks need to be tackled first and then prioritize what will give you the greatest return of your time are important strategies to consider.  The more leaders can find ways to  build up staff so they feel valued which in turn allows them to be their best for students is also most important. Leaders must recognize what work must happen when everyone is at school and what can be done after school.   Leaders must prioritize time by determining tasks into the following categories:
    • Important and Urgent
    • Important but not Urgent
    • Not Important but Urgent
    • Not Important and not Urgent 
  1. Lead with your feet by being visible.

 It is very easy to get caught up in your office by responding to phone calls and emails.  Some of this is needed, especially on matters that are time sensitive or need privacy to visit with someone. However, leaders can help by being proactive by being visible in the building as this allows conversations to happen with staff, eliminate potential problems and you can model the calm, positive mindset that staff and students need to see.  This is showing your school community that you put others first and your focus is on people – not email.

  • This is most effective when leaders are authentic and find ways to make the feedback to staff that is timely, specific, and public.  It is more important to “catch your staff” doing great things than it is to catch them making little mistakes on managerial tasks that don’t impact people or the structures that exist within the school.
  • The best way to connect with others is by listening.  In order to listen you must be present in the classrooms and hallways so the dialogue can happen.  You can connect with others by listening, asking questions and seeing what can be applied to your role to help lead your school.
  1. Keep a strong and healthy school culture.

       Leading a school is a great responsibility but also brings great joy. However, we must remember it is not our school – we are there to help empower others to help make it “our school.”  This can be achieved by:

  • Empower others to help make a difference and help develop solutions to problems.
  • Celebrate the successes of our work and embrace our failures.
  • Trust the people you work with – you hired them for a good reason and they are leaders too.
  • Share your appreciation for the efforts of your staff
    •  An authentic message, email or handwritten card mailed to a staff member can help lift their spirits. 
    • Work with your students to find ways to help thank your staff for their efforts.
    • Leaders set the tone of their building. When you lead with gratitude then others will follow.  A simple “thank you” goes a long way to helping others feel valued.
  1. Communication must be adapted to meet the needs of others.

  This means the info you share with students, staff and families can be adapted to each group to meet their needs. Everyone needs proactive communication but also clear and consistent messaging.  Leaders must be purposeful with their communication, and timely in their delivery. If people are busy but yet we want them to read our communication, then consider making your communication:

  • Concise 
  • Connect back to the work of the school 
  • Provide platforms for feedback 

Educators must remember that creating positive change must be intentional efforts incorporated in ways that meet the needs of the people at the specific points in the school year.  This is most essential when things are busy and that is when leadership is needed the most for students and staff.  The leadership provides the groundwork for others to provide greater focus to their work moving forward and keeps everyone “rowing the boat in the same direction”. Leaders must continually identify how to see the current reality and prioritize how to be efficient but yet effective.  It is never too late to change or adapt to create something better. We owe that to our students and staff that we serve. I encourage you to reflect and better understand “how to make it through the busiest of times” as a leader by considering the 4 strategies mentioned above. Comment below or reach out to me at leadlearnerperspectives@gmail.com

Learn

Engage

Adapt

Delegate

Empower

Reflect

Serve

Demanding Without Being Demeaning

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This school year has stretched educators in many ways. The result is educators are tired, worn out but they also have grown in many ways too. The challenge is this growth is not consistent across our country, yet alone in the same district and sometimes not even in the same school. Great schools exist because there is a shared understanding that all staff are committed to levels of excellence. This blog post looks at how all educators can help hold each other accountable so we are demanding without being demeaning.

Educational Leaders must identify within their districts and school the Levels of Excellence they desire to aspire to daily. These items should be focused on our purpose: importance of relationships, learning and collective efficacy. The exact words or phrases will vary by district/schools but most likely are linked to:

Effort – each person giving their personal best for every student, every day.

Attitude – each person leads with optimism and assumes positive intent by others.

Behaviors – each person understands the importance of modeling appropriate behaviors. 

It’s important we create an environment that supports helping each educator hold each other accountable.  This shared accountability helps others and allows students to experience growth and success.

How to hold each other accountable 

  • Modeling is a powerful example (We cannot take ourselves too seriously, but we can take our work seriously)
  • We can be demanding without being demeaning by:
    • We must be willing to lean into conversation and speak up 
    • Asking questions that cause the person to think about their actions
    • Sharing an example from your viewpoint that contradicts the other person’s viewpoint

During the moments or experiences when a staff member falls back into a comfortable, easy and ineffective routine and are not willing to give their best is when teacher leaders must be willing to have the hard conversations with the specific colleague. Yes, this should be done by administrators too, but often, administrators are not in every conversation to have that dialogue. It also empowers educators to help set the tone of their building when they take ownership and pride in their work. Hard conversations sound like it should be negative, but it doesn’t have to be. In many ways, these discussions can be approached by simply when a teacher leader asks a question or shares their personal experience. This allows the person to be reminded of the shared expectations for excellence for the school/district and redirects the colleague back to the targeted focus. Here are the types of questions or comments teachers’ leaders can use to help redirect colleagues:

Feedback for people who have failed: 

  • Let’s discuss the process, not the end result, so we can learn from what happened.
  • How did your choices (in your effort, attitude and behaviors) affect the outcome? What might you do differently next time?

Feedback for people who are struggling with something:

  • You’re not alone. I have struggled with this too, but I found success when I…..
  • You’re not feeling successful yet, but I do see how this is helping. Remember that it takes time to make progress.
  • How can I help you with this challenge?

Feedback for people who don’t try:

  • You haven’t gotten started yet – anything I can help with?

Feedback for people who succeed with standards of excellence:

  • You should be proud of the effort you’ve put into this. Remember where you

were when we started? 

  •  I appreciate your time, effort and enthusiasm on this.
  •  Let’s talk so I can learn from your work on this, which will help me with ….

This last year has been unlike no other due to so many external factors and the constant unknowns. Leaders must keep common principles in front of them so they can focus on growth and supporting others. One of these key principles is making sure we are developing teacher leaders who can help hold each other accountable to standards of excellence. The guidance mentioned above will help educators navigate through a busy spring and have a positive impact to help their school have a great year. True leadership occurs by intentional efforts when you work extremely hard to improve your own leadership. This will allow you to focus on spending the right efforts towards the important work of leading others. It is never too late to change or adapt to create something better. We owe that to our students and staff that we serve. 

Learn 

  Engage 

    Adapt 

       Delegate 

         Empower 

           Reflect  

             Serve 

Finding your Marigolds

Spring is a time of renewal, refocus and energizes everyone after a long, cold winter. In schools, spring is also a tremendously busy time as leaders are working hard to finish strong in the current year but also must focus intentionally on topics for the next school year. This year, due to COVID-19, Spring brings even greater renewal and a sense of hope but also the mental and physical exhaustion of supporting staff and trying to move schools forward in a pandemic.

As a way to continually find balance in my life, I enjoy listening, reading and learning from others. One such person is Jennifer Gonzalez and her work with the online site Cult of Pedagogy. She has many wonderful resources and the article Find your Marigolds is one we have used with new teachers every year. We use this in August each year to help our new teachers understand the importance of Surrounding yourself with good people.  That concept, finding good people, resonates with me for leaders as well.  In a year that may be the most challenging, exhausting  and potentially innovative for school leaders, it is even more important to find your Marigolds. I also learned from John Maxwell  in his podcasts in reference to leadership that “you are the average of the 5 people you spend your time with”.  This blog post takes a look at educators who aspire to help grow and influence others how they must find and surround themselves with leaders so they can be their best version of themselves over time and strive for excellence.

When you think of leaders who serve as Marigolds, you may think of mentors or people who help coach others.  The Marigolds focus much of their time/efforts on helping others and recognize that their greatest impact is influencing and developing other leaders. They multiply their impact.  Here are characteristics of Marigolds and how having them in your life can impact your leadership journey.

Qualities of Marigolds

  • Have a Mindset of positivity, leading with vulnerability and continually seeking to improve.
  • Use Reflection as a mechanism to seek feedback from others and thoughtfully examine if their work is producing desired results.
  • Model passion for making a difference through helping others, lead by action more than words and “bring it” every day.
  • Connect with others as they know the only way to truly help someone grow is to build trust and develop strong relationships.
  • Share ideas and opportunities with others as they are not focused on building a resume but rather through their impact they leave a legacy.
  • Humble to recognize they don’t know it all so they remain Hungry to learn and grow.
  • Lead with Character as they listen to others, model integrity in decision making, maintain poise in turbulent times and are self-aware.

How do you find your Marigolds

  • As you learn as a leader (ex. listening to podcasts, on voxer groups, FB, Twitter), who are the other leaders that also have the same purpose?
  • Identify the people who are innovative, making positive change and being the ones to jump in the water first. These are risk takers and ones you can reach out to create a connection.
  • Ask yourself who are the people who are invested in their schools or invested in growing as a leader. These are people who are committed to growth and striving for excellence. They want to make a difference and are likely to help you.

What do you ask or share with a Marigold

  • Be willing to share your vulnerability by admitting areas where you are challenged or struggle and ask how failure has shaped them?
  • What did they do as a leader that helped propel their growth and influence that you should consider?
  • What is their passion or where they spent their time, effort learning?
  • Share your desire to grow and ask them who did they learn from or connect with that you may consider learning from?
  • How do they add value to others so you better understand how to support others?

Working with Marigolds will help you remember

  • You can lead but still ask for help.
  • You can be confident but still have doubt.
  • You can expect excellence but still be empathetic and supportive of others.
  • You can be direct to others but still kind.
  • You can be demanding without being demeaning.
  • You can work with urgency but still be patient.
  • You can be strong and still be vulnerable. 

Why having Marigolds transforms leadership

This will help you identify ways you can add value to others, develop skills and influence your journey by understanding:

  • What can you do for people to help them succeed?
  • What do people need from you  that they may not ask for?
  • What can you become better at that will help you serve others?
  • How will you know if you are helping others?
  • How can you serve others that will inspire them to help others?

This year is unlike no other due to so many external factors and the constant unknowns. Leaders must keep common principles in front of them so they can focus on growth and supporting others.  One of these key principles is connecting to mentors or Marigolds. The areas mentioned above will help leaders navigate through a busy spring and have a positive impact to help their school have a great year.  True leadership occurs by intentional efforts when you work extremely hard to improve your own leadership.  I encourage all leaders to reflect upon who are your Marigolds and how can they learn from them to continue the pursuit of excellence.  This will allow you to focus on spending the right efforts towards the important work of leading others. It is never too late to change or adapt to create something better. We owe that to our students and staff that we serve. Comment below or reach out to me at leadlearnerperspectives@gmail.com

Learn 

  Engage 

    Adapt 

       Delegate 

         Empower 

           Reflect  

             Serve