In any career or task the individual works to attain a certain level of success. A new teacher may feel successful after completing the 1st year of teaching, a veteran teacher feels content when they have lessons/units planned out well in advance and an administrator may feel satisfied once they are in their building for several years. However, this type of approach is not sufficient in today’s rapidly changing world – our students deserve the very best. All educators must improve day to day and get better. In short, educators must strive for excellence in all that they do. No one person is perfect – but striving for excellence does not mean that someone is perfect. Instead, it means that the individual recognizes that they must continually get better at their craft as students need their best. To do this, learners try to learn at all times in a variety of ways as they recognize that learning can happen anywhere, anytime. This consistent approach on striving to get better leads to excellence. From my perspective and learnings from others, I think there are 8 ways that learners strive for excellence in everything they do.
1. They focus on what they can control – In many situations there will be problems or challenges that may range from lack of budget, schedule constraints, lack of enthusiasm……but leaders focus on finding solutions and not focusing their time/efforts on things that they have no control over.
2. They model the behaviors they want to create – When striving for excellence, others will look at the leaders and see how they handle stress, conflict, interactions with people – so how a leader models kindness, positive intent, empathy and a focus on kids will resonate with people.
3. They gather energy from interactions with others – Leading can be draining both physically and emotionally. Leaders who strive to make daily impact when they interact with others in a positive way get energy and strength from those individuals. In turn, they listen to the needs of others and provide encouragement to their work. This strengthens the relationships and builds greater momentum.
4. They never stop learning – Leaders continually find new ways to learn from others. This may be through social media such as Podcasts, Voxer Chats, Twitter or Facebook. But it also includes reading books and listening to others through conversations.
5. Reflection is a constant part of their routine – Leaders always reflect on current practices and ask “why are we using that practice” and “is there a better way that can be achieved”. This reflection allows leaders to challenge the status quo.
6. Inspire others and their behaviors through influence – Leaders recognize the most impactful thing they can do is Influence others by supporting them, encouraging their growth and providing them feedback along the way.
7. They develop leaders through shared vision – Leaders recognize that the “smartest person in the room is the room” and strive to help others realize that when they work together there is no limit to what can be accomplished.
8. They create sustainable change – Leaders know that they cannot do it alone; the most powerful thing they can do is create leaders who can carry on when they are not there so the organization continues to run at high levels in their absence.
If you are reading this then you are already striving for excellence. I would be curious on how you strive for excellence and what aspects do you recognize that are important in your growth and others as we strive to provide the very best for kids. Reach out to me with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org