I believe that something more important than an open door policy... Is an open ear policy.
An open door policy means that the people you serve have to trust you enough to come in the door.
An open door policy means that once they come into your office they believe you will listen to them and they will be heard.
You see, no one truly listens until they feel they have been heard.
So today, and for the rest of the week, year, and your career, listen to other with the same passion that you desire to be heard by others.
This means leading by walking around, asking questions, being curious.
In fact, if you are not sure what questions to ask here are three:
Then just LISTEN. No interruptions, no added information, no “that happened to me too” just listen.
I guarantee you learn how to lead that person at a higher level and you will have earned credibility with them.
Keep making a...
Hey, I am Dr. Tom Miller and I have a big idea to share.
I believe that everything needs to fight for its life to get on your agenda. Here is what I mean.
I remember when I was a principal, just coming back from spring break, spending the last week reflecting and analyzing where we needed to go over the next 90 days to be fully prepared for the next school year.
I would share these ideas with my team and instead of them showing excitement for a new idea they would think...oh no, that's one more thing! When will we find the time to do that? How will we do that? How will this impact ME?
Like many school leaders, I struggled from "shiny object" syndrome. I love to learn about what is working in other schools and tinker with strategies. The more I learned, the more I put on my team, without taking anything away.
My inability to prioritize, isolate, and focus on the most vital, game-changing actions that ensure significant improvement in teaching and...
Ever felt left out of a conversation filled with Education Jargon?
Especially all of those acronyms...
How did you handle not knowing?
How did you read the room and help others?
Did you just go with the flow? Or were you courageous enough to ask a questions?
As the facilitator or speaker, did you even notice that no one understood?
Personally, I’ve been on both sides.
When I was a Special Educator I would lead meetings and talk to teachers as though they all had a degree in special education and psychology. Many parents never spoke during the meetings, they just signed and thanked us.
SILENCE is NOT AGREEMENT.
It wasn’t until recently when I was the LEA at an IEP meeting, watching the body language of the parents through the virtual meeting did I realized how we were not going a good job of keeping the communication simple. The parents looked lost and concerned but they were not seeing anything.
I interrupted the teacher to ask if we could...
Communicating the desire for the "new" normal has significant impact on not only your morale, but those you lead can have a significant impact on morale, working conditions.
I have spent some time this week reflecting on my experiences hearing folks wanting and wishing for the "new" normal.
Watch or listen to the lesson to get a better understanding of what this person is actually saying and how it is impacting the low morale on your team or in your school.
I offer multiple strategies that I know will work (I use them) to help you and your team be in a better place emotionally and physically!
I believe that those leaders who do not to listen to their people, will eventually be surrounded by no one who speaks.
Learning how to listen is a vital step in becoming an effective leader. According to research conducted by Personality Insights, the average executive spends two hours talking each day but eight hours listening.
Here is an example.
After spending two hours at home with my eight year old son, I estimate that the average stay-at-home parent spends 12 to 16 hours a day listening!!!
Well... at least one of the five levels of listening (more about this to come).
Whether we realize it or not, whether we are intentionally engaged or not, we are always listening. Sometimes we are listening to new ideas, listening to a story, to music, to the background noise of a television, or in a true conversation where we are sharing our thoughts and conveying important information. I don’t know about you, but after a day of listening and...
I believe that no communication is still communication.
Here is an example of what I mean.
I was coaching a principal and they were frustrated by their team's ability to identify and solve problems.
I continued to ask questions to get a better understanding and identify the root cause of the problem. I asked, "Well, how long did it take you, in your journey as a school leader, to identify and figure out those problems? To see those fires before they accelerate?"
They noted, "Four of five years but I do not have that time for them. I need them to be there now!"
"I understand," I replied. "So when you point these issues out, what do they say? What action are they taking?"
"I don't tell them," they noted. "No one told me and I figured it out."
"Correct me if I am wrong but I thought I heard you say you needed their growth to accelerate? How will they know something is wrong or the results are not meeting your expectations if you do not communicate it?"
I believe sustained organizational health and success begins with a clear and concise mission statement.
Here is what I mean.
Great organizations continuously follow their mission and rarely stray from it; as even a deviation can result in a flutter of ineffective activity and confusion.
As marketing expert Donald Miller says, “When you confuse, you lose.”
The most effective schools I have studied sustained their mission through stable school leadership, clear education plans, effective teachers, and highly engaged parents.
As a consultant, and strategic thinking partner to hundreds of school leaders, I investigate and analyze schools at all years of existence and achievement levels. There is one thing I know for sure.
The school’s whose faculty understand who they are and why they exist are able to clearly articulate and communicate their education plans and overall programming.
They have learned to prioritize their time and focus their resources...
Nine years ago today I earned the right to turn the tassel, earning my Doctorate in Education Leadership!
When this picture was taken I was still a middle school director of a very successful rural charter school.
I did not know that a few weeks after I would get recruited by the NC Department of Public Instruction Office of Charter Schools to assist the growth of public charter schools as the Legislation just eliminated the 100 school cap.
I did not know HOW to write a charter application let alone lead the process that would evaluate over 250 applications that resulted in the opening over 50 charter schools in the following three years.
I did not know HOW to support and prepare charter school leaders opening their school from scratch. But I did.
When I quit that government job to start my own business supporting school leaders in growing themselves and their schools, I did not know HOW to start a business.
I did not know ANYTHING!...
The one thing any school leader never wants to happen is a failure to communicate clearly.
When it comes to communicating the mission, vision, goals and values, and expectations, a leader must consistently communicate with clarity.
Here is the rule we start from: Once you’ve talked about your mission, vision, values and goals, a hundred times, the average employee has heard and understood it less than ten.
But it’s true.
One of the great failures of school leaders happens when they think everyone else ‘just gets it.’
That is assumptive leadership, and it is the most dangerous leadership style.
As a school principal, you may be passionate and inspired by your mission and vision. Compelled by your WHY! It's the reason you jump out of bed every day ready to change the world.
Here is a newsflash.
Most of your teachers and employees do not.
To bring them into the mission and vision you created, it must be...