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...
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?"
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...
On the 4th of July, not too long ago, my daughter and I ventured outside to watch the fireworks at a friends barbeque. We both hate loud noises (sparklers are more my speed), but did not want to miss the “people watching” opportunity.
We sat in the back of my truck as this mix of adults and teens lit bottle rockets in the middle of the street. The adults modeled and taught the teens how to properly light the fuse at the bottom of the rocket and get out of the way.
The crowd started to grow as a pick-up basketball game was started by the adults. Leaving the fireworks to a couple of teens.
I happened to notice one teenager was attempting to light a Roman Candle. A Roman Candle, if you do not know, is a rocket that you hold in your hand as it shoots fireballs into the air.
This teen, who learned how to light the bottle rocket safely from the bottom, was not aware that a Roman Candle lights at the top. But he had the rocket upside down. His face was...
Today, there is just one message I wanted to pass on to you dedicated readers.
Because leaders are readers and readers are leaders.
People need just one reason to start following you, but many reasons to keep following you.
Six years ago, when I was just starting Leaders Building Leaders, I hired a sales coach because let's be honest, in the world of education, words like sales and profit are dirty words.
Most educators do not see themselves as sales people, or like asking people for things, but they do it every day.
We were four or five sessions into our sales coaching sessions and my sessions were not productive.
My coach asked me one simple question.
"What is your story?"
I went on to share my experience as an exceptional children's teacher, principal, my doctorate in education leadership and time as a state wide consultant who developed many state wide initiatives to open and improve public charter schools. How on the last day in...
Today (April 20) is the anniversary of one of my greatest leadership landmine lessons where I learned...
You know how principals sometimes find themselves working on large projects by themselves that should be a collaborative decision.
Well, ten years ago I developed the second half of the school year calendar over our winter break. I was very proud of myself, feeling “ahead” for once. When the staff returned we went over the key dates and celebrations.
On the calendar I listed April 20th as Earth Day. Leading up to the event I was excited hearing all of the cross-content ideas the team was putting together for Earth Day. The day ended up being a HUGE hit. I could not have been more proud of the way the staff came together as collaboration had been one of our areas for growth.
This is a note to all decision makers in education.
In times of crisis, it is alright to be uncertain, but it is never alright to be unclear. To be unclear is to be unkind.
Over the past 30 days, schools across the country have been forced to take their education plans virtually and serve all students the best that they can with very little, if any, preparation.
Parents are scrambling to balance being full time employees, home makers and now home school teachers. Doing their best to keep up with the work. Identifying and filling in the learning gaps they now see in their children. Blaming teachers for not “making it easy” for them to follow the daily lesson and questioning what is my child learning at that school?
Teachers are creating new ways to educate and engage students remotely, collect and grade work, take attendance, and do what they can to create some sense of a routine. Many have very little information on how to do all of these because they...
This is one of my most valuable lessons, and if you read this entire blog, you will be an expert on how to avoid this problem.
Stick with me, it’s worth it.
First, let’s assume that you find the perfect article or resource to share with your team or staff.
And then you send it… and NO ONE REPLIES.
Not only does no one reply. You do not see any evidence that anyone read and implemented it.
Why? What happened?
Let me show you some examples in hopes to clarify some things.
During our COVID-19 time, or maybe even before, many of you have either received or forwarded email to a friend, colleague or a supervisor that either has no text or a few words like; “Check this out”, “This is great”, “Love this!” or “Take a look” and a link to an article, program, or resource.
You, being a great friend or...