I wanted to share a quick story and resource...
Two years ago I was hired as the interim executive of a well known bi-lingual, Montessori charter school 30 days before the first day of school.
We hired a dozen staff in 30 days, some from out of the country, and had great inservice and day one experience for everyone...well, that's what I thought.
I asked the mentors to schedule a new hire meeting about eight days in to check in with the new hires.
I came to the meeting late and just asked them to start with a simple, "What's going well?", "What can be improved?" icebreaker activity.
I walked into the room and was blown away about what was on the whiteboard.
What's Going Well?
What Can Be Improved...
If you couldn't read it here's just a few of the items on their list...
The list goes on....
My Mom died during surgery on February 3, 2015. I did not know she was having the surgery.
Fortunately, I happened to call her that afternoon. I had not heard her this excited in years. The new doctor finally believed her, about the pain she was in. He diagnosed her with poor circulation that was creating her loss of feeling in the legs and constant back pain. She had already had multiple surgeries on her back to this point, none of them working. But this time it was different. She had hope. Hope that this time it would work and she could spend time playing on the floor with her two grandchildren.
She never had that chance.
When he repaired her arteries, they were too weak to carry her new blood flow. They exploded, and she died almost instantly on the table.
I don’t share this to upset you or get your sympathy. I share this to remind you a few lessons I learned in life:
Sacrifice the right things: Go home. Be present. Call the people you love and tell them...
This question as a principal, Am I sure the students are all learning? Use to keep me up at night.
However, then I learned that the best way to ensure students are learning is through daily classroom walkthroughs.
These walkthrough must be intentional and focused on making sure that students are not just learning but mastering the curriculum taught.
That the atmosphere is affirming.
That the students are engaged in the process.
That the teacher is aware of everything that is happening between the four walls of the classroom.
While you are walking through each classroom, the validity of the information you receive through assessments and benchmarks will be affirmed.
The first step in effective leadership is making a choice that is in harmony with our goals and desires.
I personally believe that the academic growth your students make, and the development of the teachers that lead them, will directly correlate to the effectiveness and the...
Just because there are not strong applicants does not mean you allow negative behavior to exist in your school.
Here is an example.
Just recently I was on a coaching call with a leadership team when they began to describe the behavior of a staff member as being toxic to their culture. Just being mean, not following school expectations, making their teammates feel uncomfortable.
When I asked them why are they still working there they shared, “well, there are not too many good candidates right now.” Then they justified it with, “Their scores are really good and We won’t be recommending them for renewal.”
I asked if they had ever had a toothache, a bad cavity or infection?
“Oh yes,” they replied.
“And when you went to the dentist did they say, well, it still chews just fine, let’s give it another six months and see how it’s doing then.” Or did he say, "This needs to be repaired immediately or the...
Recently I was in a conversation with a group of school leaders and they were sharing how expensive a professional development quote was for their staff.
I shared, well, If you think the price for training is expensive, just wait until you get the bill for incompetence.
This is a common problem in the field of education. Schools will not invest in their people. They succumb to the “position” trap.
They assume by having the position they don’t need more training. Or worse, they don’t have the position but once they do THEN they will sign up.
What they don’t realize is that leadership evolves daily, not just in a day. Not in an event.
Even if we are avid readers or listen to podcasts, read blogs and articles, this doesn’t mean we will be better leaders. It just means we are more informed.
We pour ourselves into work, family, mentoring co-workers, and are involved in community groups or activities.
Being involved with these...
I believe that when a leader puts their family first, the community benefits. When the leader puts the community first, both they and their family suffer.
Starting at home is always the key to affecting others in a positive way.
Being positive models at home is critical for your legacy. Remember, people (especially your children) don’t do what people say, people do what people see.
I grew up in a broken home. My parents divorced before I was a year old. Both my mother and father were married multiple times. We didn’t speak much about values or relationships (except the bad stuff!)
When I married my wife (twenty years this June!) I honestly never thought it would last. Divorce is all I experienced.
It’s hard to grow and improve when the only model you have is your own.
It wasn’t until I started to pay closer attention to other couples, couples who had lasted decades and their children, did I begin to learn what it truly meant to be a leader in your home.
I believe that wisdom and insight do not come from experience.
Wisdom and insight come from EVALUATIVE EXPERIENCE. Reflection and processing what went well. What went wrong? How will I improve?
You see, I regret the decisions I did not make more than the bad decisions I did. Then I would have insight on whether or not I was on the right track.
There is GOLD in the reflection process. The problem with us school leaders is we do not always take the time to do so. We are so busy being busy.
I know, over this past twelve months I was the head principal of three different schools. All while running my strategic consulting and leadership development company. We served over 10,000 leaders in 2023! Providing consulting and training services for over 100 schools. I finalized and published my book on the Ten Indicators of High Performing Charter Schools.
My team and I were able to take over ten weeks in vacation in 2022. I spent the month of June in France traveling from...
In professional development sessions, administrator certification programs, administrative meetings, we spend a lot of time teaching and telling leaders what to do.
We do not spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop doing.
I believe in order to be more effective as a leader, you must know what to stop doing.
One of the most powerful leadership principles I have learned from my leadership mentor John Maxwell is the Law of Priorities from Maxwell's 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.
The Law of Priorities teaches us that busyness doesn’t equal productivity.
You see, activity is not necessarily accomplishment.
More than half of the school leaders I initially begin to work with as their coach or thinking partner do not need to learn more leadership skills.
They need to learn what to stop doing and where to prioritize their time.
They need to stop trying to do it all and stop trying to learn HOW to do it all.
I challenge you this week to celebrate...
I believe between every stimulus and its response, every piece of information and our decision, there is space. A brief pause.
It is brief, but always enough time and room for our philosophy or interpretation to be inserted.
Within that space creates choice.
The pause is everything.
The pause before…
…jumping to conclusions.
…assuming the worst.
…rushing to solve your child’s problems for them.
…forcing a problem into some kind of policy
…turning away in fear
As a younger leader I struggled with my emotions. I would not say I am cured but 15 years of evaluative experience, yoga, better exercise and self care. Learning to create better relationship...
I believe that not communicating is still communication.
Here is what I mean.
I was recently talking to a teacher who left her school mid-year. I asked if the pay was a factor? They shared that, “It’s was not about the money. It was just that no matter what I did, how long I had been there, I just never heard anything positive. If I make a mistake however, I heard about it immediately, but if I did my job the silence was overwhelming.”
Why is feeling appreciated so important in a work setting?
Because each of us wants to know that what we are doing matters.
Without a sense of being valued by supervisors and colleagues, workers start to feel like a machine or a commodity.
Steven Covey wrote, “Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.”
Here are some signs your employees do not feel appreciated: