Time doesn’t stand still. That phrase is so true, even though at times in the pandemic it may seem as if it was. The last few years have been challenging for everyone but it also has shown us the importance of making moments matter, appreciating the small but significant parts of life and taking advantage of opportunities to make them matter most. Those who aspire for growth and want to strive to maximize their leadership, recognize the importance of continual improvement and growth. This blog post shares my perspective as I have made a career decision as I recognized “it was time to turn the page” and try a new leadership journey. The purpose of this blog is to share the reasoning behind my decision to strive for greater growth so I can become the best version of myself and maximize my leadership journey.
As a leader you must discover your purpose as this puts all your efforts and focus in the right direction. Self awareness is a critical attribute of leadership. I was reading a book from author John Maxwell and he shared that Leaders must continually ask themselves the following questions that drive self awareness:
- Am I investing in myself and my growth?
- Am I contributing to the growth of others?
- Am I doing what I love and love what I do?
- Am I investing my time with the right people that continually allow me to improve?
- Am I working in my strength zone?
- Is the organization better because I lead it?
- Have I taken the organization as far as I can take it?
As you become self aware it allows you to stretch yourself in your strength zone and have a greater impact upon others. This reflection allowed me to greater understand:
- What I can improve upon tomorrow
- What do I need to start doing, stop doing and continue doing.
- How can I help others grow in their craft?
Practicing Quality Leadership
There are many factors that contribute to quality leadership. Once someone is self aware and recognizes their strengths but also their deficits, then they can also self examine their leadership qualities upon the organization. James Kouzes and Barry Posner shared that there are 5 practices to great leaders:
- Model the way – This is where you set the example for others by aligning your actions and words to your purpose.
- Inspire a Shared Vision – You create the future for your organization by together developing the dream and then creating opportunities for everyone to be part of the work.
- Challenge the process – This is where you seek to improve the school by challenging the status quo and this is done by your daily habits and routine.
- Enable others to act – This is a critical part to the development of an organization as the work should be done by everyone – not just you. Together we can achieve so much more than in isolation.
- Encourage the Heart – This is where you must value the people, know their strengths and find ways to allow them to practice and develop their leadership.
As I became more self aware and learned the qualities of effective leadership, then I was better able to understand where I was at in my growth journey and what decisions I had to make to strive for continual improvement. This type of leadership concepts were utilized in our pandemic as we have strived to help our staff help our kids during the most challenging times. The COVID pandemic has definitely provided everyone with opportunities to impact those they serve. When leaders can define reality for others, remind them of their purpose, help them develop a plan, promote teamwork and give hope then the team of people you serve can stay together and achieve greatness.
On my desktop computer there is a quote that says “Courageous – The hardest decision you have to make will often lead to the best thing you ever will do”. I have looked at this almost daily as my self awareness and desire to grow in leadership has reminded me the importance of growth and being action oriented. To maximize anyone’s growth, you must recognize to:
- Focus on the journey
- Mature and develop people
- It is a lifelong commitment
- Recognize you must take responsibility for your own growth
These reflections led me to stretch myself and take on the process of interviewing and being selected to serve a new building next year. While I am bittersweet about leaving the people I currently serve and worked so closely with, I also recognize that this decision will help lead to greater growth for me and my team is well prepared to lead without me. As I plan the next steps of change, I recognize that for the staff I will lead, I must remember the following about the transition from 1 leader to the next: it all comes back to people, building relationships and strong culture and creating great moments together. This includes
- Reminding them of their purpose as educators
- Sharing with them the pace of the work
- Showing them the path or how the work will be done
- Describing how each person has a part in the work.
Educators must remember that nothing is easy. In fact, if you want to create a difference then you must be willing to take ownership for your growth plan .This can be done by understanding some of the challenges you are facing, be self aware, reflect upon your leadership work and then decide your next steps. To grow over time, leaders can focus on specific strategies and understand what is within their control so efforts and time is spent in the right areas. 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 “Time to turn the page” so you can have your greatest impact. Comment below or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org