As we enter the new calendar year there will be many SM posts about “your 1 word”, Hopes for 2021 and much more. These all are valuable and can have impact as it provides Hope as it helps someone reflect, find gratitude and move forward. As many of you recall from earlier posts, I do reflect often and value this important aspect of leadership. Recently, I was reflecting upon my journey and where I am currently at as a leader and how do I find new opportunities for growth. I think many leaders ask themselves these same types of questions as many educators are driven by how they can provide support or help others and they want to maximize their opportunities. The challenge is knowing how to turn the page on your leadership journey and how do you reinvent yourself as a leader for continuous growth. I must remember that leadership is a privilege. When someone is in a leaders role, your influence may affect the trajectories of peoples entire future careers (and often their lives). This blog post shares some insights I have about my own journey and helps me maximize the opportunities I have so I can be the best version of myself as a leader.
Leadership is the moments and experiences you provide for others – The people you serve may remember your PD and style of leadership. But they will remember more vividly all the little things you do for them. How you encourage others, support and inspire them. I must remember to find value in these opportunities that really make the monumental difference for others. They happen every day and can happen every hour. Taking the time to listen to someone’s concerns, share a note of praise and just be there for them may be some of the most significant things I can do this year moving forward with those I serve.
Keep the focus on people and family first – In my role there are constant demands to increase academic student performance, respond to emails, complete reports and justify our school goals. I get that these are important but I must remain focused on people first. Great schools exist because of its people, not because of a singular program, technology or fancy building. I must continue to stay true to people and find ways to value them and what they bring to our school community. One of the most important things to do is remind your staff that family comes first. I must remember to model this by not emailing staff on weekends (unless absolutely necessary) and giving staff grace when they need to leave a little early to get to their child’s b-ball game, medical appointment etc..
Recognize others and be happy for their accomplishments – I must admit, there are times when I too, do want and need to be validated for my efforts. It is a basic human instinct. But I must also remember that I must stay focused on helping others and if I do that then in turn, I will grow too. I do hope my staff will remember how I encourage them, treat each person in our school like they are important and value their contributions. It is important to celebrate their wins or areas of growth as that will stimulate further growth and it cements what our focus is on in our building – people and their growth. As Simon Sinek shares, “Leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about taking care of those in your charge.”
Lead with optimism and fuel it with passion – Leading the work in schools is demanding and in many cases overwhelming with uncertainty, negativity and demands placed upon us. I must find ways to lead with optimism and fuel that positivity with a desire to help others (which is my passion). People can sense someone’s emotion and that can either ignite or distinguish their own efforts for growth. The more I can model for others how to lead with positivity and be focused on intentional efforts to grow, lead with vulnerability and lean into conversations then it can help them connect with me in an authentic way. I must be humble in my confidence yet courageous in my character as I model vulnerability and share my mistakes. This creates a shared ownership or collective efficacy in our work that ultimately will lead to trust.
A single person can make a significant difference. Everyone has the same opportunities in life. However, some people are content with the status quo, don’t take the time to reflect and are not willing to continually learn. This blog post shares some of my reflections as I take the next steps in my leadership journey and how I can help others grow. As John Maxwell shares, “Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” It will also help me to remain humble and stay hungry for growth as a leader. True leadership occurs by intentional efforts when you work extremely hard to improve your own learning and that leads to growth. I encourage all leaders to reflect upon your experiences to help define your next steps. When you can self-analyze your past and what you learned from those experiences, it allows you to focus on spending the right efforts towards building excellence. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org