Friday, September 21, 2018

The Secret Weapon All Excellent Leaders Possess

What’s the secret to  becoming an excellent leader?  Some think it’s organization. Others think it’s communication, and some could even argue that it’s how you serve. While those are critical skills leaders need to excel, there is a secret weapon that the very best leaders possess. Can you guess what it is?

Here are a few clues. 

What you Learn - So often we think that being a great leader is about what you know, and sure
there’s some truth to that, but there’s something better than knowledge and that is the desire to grow as both a person and a leader. 

Ingest - Great leaders protect their mind like a healthy person would protect their diet. They ingest truth, and they do that by protecting their minds from mind pollution. In other words, they don’t get pulled into the trap of fake news, rumors, gossip, and trash that basically exist to prevent them from getting better.  

Simplicity - Great leaders want their organization to be lean in the work they do; therefore, they seek to simplify all of complexities within their organization. They eradicate ambiguity by always looking for a better way to make the system more efficient and effective. 

Discipline - Great leaders don’t do everything. In fact they control what they do by only doing things that are essential, and they protect their time by not wasting it on useless actions and unproductive conversations.

Own the Truth - The truth is often a bitter pill to swallow, but excellent leaders own it no matter what. Even if it costs them friends or political capital, standing up for what’s morally and ethically right is more important than acquiescing to what’s convenient or easy. 

Model Humility - The best leaders are humble, and they model their humility by listening, asking questions in order to learn, and accept feedback, for they recognize the fact that they will never reach their optimal performance.  They constantly learn from others so they can get closer to it however. 

Have you figured it out?

Excellence leaders possess wisdom. 

Wisdom is not intellect, it is a selfless ambition to be your best self for the people you serve. It is a relentless commitment to the truth, and a tireless hunger for continuous improvement. Finally wisdom is not revealed by what you know. It is however it displayed how you show it. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Is your School’s College and Career Initiative a Dream or a Reality?

In schools and all over social media, the emphasis grows more and more everyday for college and career. The big push for tech integration, #FutureReady, collaboration, individualized learning is all in an effort to inspire every student to pursue education beyond high school, and it makes sense. We have to prepare every student for a college and career ready future. Without it, students are almost guaranteed a challenging life with greater chances for poverty and improsonment.

The reality is that our schools should have an authentic emphasis on College and Career, and the reason is obvious.    The more education you get, the higher wage that you can earn, and the lower employment rate you will find.  Check out this graphic from of data collected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.  A picture is worth a thousand words, and this graphic can be summed up in 1 tweet.

Your Education is Your Future!!!


Is College and Career a Priority?
If we want our kids to believe in college and career, we must first recognize that over 50% of our students are kids of poverty, and many of them don’t see college as an attainable option.  Schools that excel the most in preparing all kids for college go far beyond the superficial college day of wearing college shirts and take purposeful steps to acquaint students with all of the options at their disposal. 

They talk to their students often about college, take entire grade levels of students on college tours, and prepare all students for college entrance exams. Furthermore, they show their students the financial benefits of performing well on ACT and SAT tests, and inspire them to believe that academic excellence is their proverbial lottery ticket. 

Is college and career a dream in your school, or is it your school’s reality?  The answer to that question is not in your head. It’s in the heads of the students you hope will pursue college after graduation.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Give Feedback that'll have your Teacher’s Back

Feedback can challenge leaders, and frankly it is something that many leaders can struggle with depending on the people that are needing feedback. How do you know just how much feedback to give?  How do you know when to push?  How do you know when to affirm?  There's so many directions feedback can take you, and some of those places aren't that good.

Here is the reason why feedback perplexes leaders. When a leader tells an employee something from a position of unilateral leadership, that’s not feedback. That’s advice. That’s an opinion. That’s a directive. That’s actually one person‘s perspective, but it’s not feedback because feedback is the result of collaborative teamwork not a leader’s job description.

So what is feedback?
Think of feedback is something you give back. It’s something you come back with to help someone get better. In other words feedback is act based on a relationship with a solid foundation, and it can’t occur with out something very important first. The prerequisite that I am referring to is growth goal based on trust and mutual understanding. 

Think of it in this way.  Feedback is essentially food for thought. It brings people to the table as opposed to pushing them away. It fills their confidence, but it also makes them hungry for growth.  It quenches their thirst while simultaneously causing them to develop a new thirst for knowledge.

In order for feedback to work we must have a common goal that both the leader and a follower agree is necessary to work toward. Without it, feedback will be perceived as a blindsided comment or judgment. It’ll be what the leader perceived as helpful advice but for the receiver it’ll came out of left field which could lead the receiver to have fear and resentment rather than trust and teamwork. Feedback without a goal that both people share actually prevents feedback from working.  

Feedback feeds growth, and leaders who care about the health of their employees don’t start with feedback. They start with a goal and feed the employee with strategies, questions, and suggestions to reach the goal.  In its purest form feedback feeds not only the follower but the leader and his skill set in helping or better yet feeding the follower as he works to reach that goal.

Feedback always has the teachers back, and that’s a fact.