“No one wants to be led by a pessimist.” Bob Iger
Since I did not do a social media detox this summer, I decided to take advantage of being away for a few weeks and unplug and disconnect. As I mentioned in my precious blog, it has gifted me with a lot of uninterrupted time. So… I’ve been reading a lot, catching up on Super Soul Sunday episodes (another one of my faves), listening to different podcasts, writing / working on my blog and playing catch up on the phone with long distance friends.
One of the Super Soul podcasts I listened to, then watched the actual Super Soul Sunday episode, was that with Bob Iger. He is the Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company. His book, The Ride of a Lifetime was, among other things, being discussed. Essentially, the book encompasses his 40+ year career in entertainment business and the lessons and values he’s learned along the way. Sounds like another must read!
It got me thinking about the lessons I learned in my 33+ years in education. I was in the system for roughly 22 years prior to becoming an assistant principal (which is the position I had for the last 12 years of my career). Throughout the years, I worked with stellar administrators and mediocre ones, with pessimists and optimists, effective communicators and lousy ones as well as my fair share of bullies.
As with any job/career/profession, we make a lot of mistakes, encounter failures and, ultimately, turn them into lessons learned and appreciate them for the experience we gleamed from them. These experiences continuously shape us and inspire us over and over again throughout our lives.
If you read my previous blog, then you know I worked on list of attributes/qualities/habits of mind that have guided me throughout my life. So in the spirit of “making lists,” I have decided to start another one and call it Leadership 101. My hope is to make it simple, clear and practical. Disclaimer: it is not in any particular order- it reflects stream of consciousness thinking. Take what you need and leave the rest!
- Be human
- Lead with intention, integrity and respect
- Be authentic, honest, and truthful
- Demonstrate kindness, compassion, and empathy
- Be a source of motivation, inspiration and optimism
- Be confident and consistent
- Make clear, constant and conscious communication a guiding principle for all
- Let your decisions reflect a clear vision as well as your values
- Make your self-care practices a priority
- Take the time daily to be still, reflect on your practices as well as your accountability and decision-making (keep a journal)
- Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know” or “Let me think about it and get back to you”
- Remember you are not there to make friends- leadership is a lonely road
- Do the right thing always and maintain the calm in the chaos
- Continue evolving, growing and encouraging others to do the same
- Allow for professional development opportunities that reflect your goals, shared vision/future vision and one that is relevant and personalized to the job employees are being asked to perform
- Acknowledge your staff- send them handwritten notes of appreciation
- Take risks, be creative and innovative
- Learn to embrace failure
- Welcome suggestions, constructive criticism and out of the box thinking
- Have a mentor(s)
- Remember you are not going to make everyone happy
- Be a remover of obstacles- not the obstacle itself
- Provide the tools, resources and support that people need to do their job
- Focus on solutions not problems
- Ask, “What can I do to help?”
- Maintain an impeccably clean, safe and secure facility
- Lead by example, and don’t ask anyone to do something you would not be willing to do yourself
- Know all facets of the jobs people do
- Do not micromanage
- Learn to delegate and empower others
- Observe the power dynamics / power plays / hierarchies at work
- Get to know your employees, their strengths, their challenges, their pain, ambitions and dreams as well as anything of a personal nature that may affect the quality of their job performance- learn to ask questions that help build relationships
- Work hard and play hard – remember to celebrate accomplishments and successes
In the words of John Quincy Adams,
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
Lead the way, darlings!
Infinite Love & Gratitude, JTC