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?"
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...
When you withhold your recognition of another person's contribution to the team's success, you are not just treating people unfairly, but you are depriving people of the emotional payoff that comes with success.
And they resent you for it.
One example of this was when a colleague of mine was excited about a grant he received to build an outdoor garden to help the "at-risk" youth he served to build emotional resilience and life skills.
He told me that his principal came to him very excited and wanted to know all about the grant and the plans.
Then, she went to the Superintendent meeting and took all of the credit, receiving accolades in the newspaper. My buddy, not a word was written about him or the students.
He told me that he would never trust the principal and thought about shutting the project down.
The principal's actions not only impacted his behavior, but now the students would suffer.
Recognition is all about closure.
Acadia NorthStar has been assisting public charter schools with accounting, budget management and compliance since 2001. For over a decade, Acadia's experienced staff has been exceeding their clients' expectations.
Most of you have heard of Acadia.
Many of you have a contract with Acadia.
But what you might not know is that 365 days a year, the team at Acadia works with their clients to ensure long term, fiscal vitality.
Here is how I know: Five years ago I was the Executive Director to a charter school board overseeing two charter schools. One of the schools was in financial hardship. It's expenditures far exceeded it's revenue (over one million a year). The school could not pay rent. The school was losing enrollment.
One day I just happened to find a folder that was labeled "unpaid invoices"on the desk of the former principal. In the folder was over $500,000 in unpaid invoices tracking back to the previous fiscal year.
This was not a problem I, or any...
Unfortunately, this week when I sent out a message highlighting two of our teacher leaders who were special guests on our Empowered Educators webinar; I incorrectly typed the name of one of our teacher leaders, Sarah Douglas.
My deepest apologies Sarah.
When Sarah let me know about my mistake I remembered what Dale Carnegie most famously wrote in his best selling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
“Remember that a person’s name is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language”.
When I first heard this phrase, I felt it was one of the most valuable pieces of advice I was given. Being an educator for over 20 years and currently a consultant, I have been fortunate enough to meet tens of thousands of people. It is critical that I work to make people feel safe and appreciated.
With my personality type, according to DISC...
Hey, I am Dr. Tom Miller and I have a really big idea and an important book that I wanted to share with you today.
Roddy Galbraith, the world's best speaker trainer and coach (who also happens to be my mentor) wrote a great personal growth book titled Go Out and Make a Mess that helps anyone who is feeling stuck or suffers from procrastination due to a desire to be perfect.
During these times of unchartered territory, we are all being stretched personally and professionally and might be questioning what their future may look like.
Roddy's questions forced me to take a deeper look personally and professionally. They raised my awareness and brought key answers to questions at one time I wasn't comfortable asking or answering.
Questions can connect people. Enhance collaboration with team members, build...
When I was a public charter school principal my team will tell you I had some horrific habits and a very little discipline. Whatever article I happened to read the week before, that's what the faculty meeting focused on. I would arrive at school each day prepared to observe, coach, lead and implement strategic initiatives. Then, the school day started and I got out of the firehose. The next thing you know cars are lining up for afternoon dismissal and my beautiful list of things to do has not accumulated one check off. I was active, but not productive.
Over time, I got on activity auto-pilot. We were a good school, but not great. It was not until my third year and the second trip to the emergency room that I realized I was the problem and I was doing it ALL wrong. I had an incredible work ethic, but too many faulty assumptions and a lack of discipline in keeping the main thing the main thing.
Everything started to change when I...