MVP: Invest some time in your own growth by creating space to reflect with other leaders.
A few weeks from now I will be releasing the 100th episode of The Assistant Principal Podcast!
It features and interview with my mentor Dr. Jan Osborn. One of the things that enhanced our relationship was debriefing on Friday afternoons.
Many times, after most others had gone home, Jan and I would sit and reflect on key events from the past week. Part of the power in these sessions was that we both reflected and therefore we both grew.
Last week I shared how if we care for someone, we let them guide the direction of their growth, as opposed to trying to control it.
By meeting regularly at the end of the week with other leaders, you can create the opportunity for others to grow in the directions they deem most important. It is a win-win.
Today’s intention: At the end of the day, sit with another leader and unpack your week and their week.
Before you go…
This week we’ve looked at multiple ways to coach “up.” The topic was suggested by one of our wonderfully engaged leaders/readers. If there is something you’d like to see me address, please share!
MVP: Set a leadership growth goal, then share it.
We should all have goals, and when we make those goals public, we model positive practice. In The Assistant Principal Podcast, one of the questions I conclude interviews with is “what part of your own leadership are you still trying to get better at?”
This is a powerful question that you should be asking of yourself, and that you can be asking of other leaders above and around you.
By modeling strategic practices, like attending to our own growth, we create space for others to do the same.
Today’s intention: What part of your own leadership are you trying to get better at, and who have you shared your goal with?
MVP: Working on a leadership skill and then processing our growth, or lack thereof, with other leaders provides learning opportunities for everyone involved.
Leadership is a growth journey that is never complete. This means that as we continue to grow, those above and around us should also be growing. Yesterday I suggested that one way to do this was to share a resource and ask someone above you to discuss it. Here’s another strategy:
Grow your own ability to implement the strategic practice you want them to get better at by practicing it. If your boss is telling people what to do instead of working with them to learn why people can’t do it, work on your own skills of asking people to help diagnose problems.
You could do this with people who you specifically supervise or for a project that you are responsible for. You could ask permission to work with the specific people with whom your boss is frustrated. You could say something like, “I’ve been working on some of my coaching skills, and I wonder if it would be okay for me to try them out with Mr. X. I know he’s been having some performance challenges and I think this would be a good opportunity for me to grow.”
Once you make your attempt, you can debrief with the other leader(s) thereby creating an opportunity for both of you to grow.
Today’s intention: Think about critical skill that both you and another leader could benefit from improving.
MVP: Providing third-party examples of good leadership can facilitate leadership growth within an organization.
I received several questions last week from readers along a similar theme. Here’s one:
“I would love to know your thoughts about how you try to lead an organization strategically when your superiors are not leading with the same mindset. I'm currently struggling to get my manager to see the need to train and listen to feedback from our employees instead of just harping on them for ‘not doing their job.’”
In an upcoming podcast, Dr. Ryan Donlan will talk about leading “up, down, and around.”
Leadership is not a hierarchical activity; leadership is a human activity!
Here one strategy and example for leading up:
Find a written, audio, or video example of what you are talking about, forward it to your superior, and say “I found this really interesting. Can we talk about this?”
For example, in last week and this week’s episodes of The Assistant Principal Podcast, I interview Dr. Sam Sircey, the principal at Owen High School in Fletcher, North Carolina. In both Part 1 and Part 2 (link), Sam gives several examples of how listening to her teachers helped her take actions that empowered them to grow and how this built a positive school culture.
Our reader could forward that podcast to their boss and say something like, “I’m really intrigued about how this principal handled working with a new group of people.”
This allows for a conversation about what someone else is doing, so it is not threatening or judgmental.
Today’s intention: Think about the idea of leading up. What are some things that you would like to be able to discuss with people “above” you? What resources or stories have you encountered recently that might facilitate such a conversation?
MVP: Don’t waste time fixating on decisions that don’t matter
This morning I was making some oatmeal as Pam and I needed a hearty breakfast before setting off on a 10-mile hike.
I pulled out two pots of slightly different sizes. I wasn’t sure which to use.
I spent at least 30 seconds of time and concentration evaluating which pot would be best.
It didn’t matter! Either pot would have held the contents and helped cook the oatmeal.
Today’s intention: Be mindful of what you invest your mental focus on. Are you wasting it making decisions about things that aren’t very important?