From December 26-January 6 are the twelve days of Christmas (in some traditions) and we are celebrating each day with a fun leadership lyric and brief lesson. Original lyrics are here.
On the 1st day of Christmas, Frederick gave to me…
A process for proximity,
The most special gift is presence (proximity), but giving it consistently requires intention. Reflect on the flow of your day and build in a time and habit (process) for being present with people.
On the 2nd day of Christmas, Frederick gave to me…
Two gentle shoves,
When we do everything ourselves, we deprive others the opportunity to grow as leaders. Sometimes we need to give people a gentle nudge to take on something that will stretch them. We just need to stay close to support them.
And for a little extra inspiration today, we are replaying episode 51 of The Assistant Principal Podcast featuring Craig Martin. I guarantee it will provide more cheer than a full wassail bowl!
On the 3rd day of Christmas, Frederick gave to me…
Three good friends,
Leadership can be lonely. Identify three people who are special: A mentor, a peer, and a future leader. Invest in those relationships. It is like Christmas past, present, and future, but without the ghosts and humbugs!
On the 4th day of Christmas, Frederick gave to me…
Four magic words,
Strategic leadership is simple. Difficult, but simple. It comes down to four words: people, purpose, problems, and progress.
On the 5th day of Christmas, Frederick gave to me…
On the 6th day of Christmas, Frederick gave to me…
Six thoughts a straying,
Being strategic is about being intentional. Again, simple but difficult. Ignore those disparate thoughts – they are distractions. Be intentional, purposeful, and present.
On the 7th day of Christmas, Frederick gave to me…
Seven souls a singing,
Leaders shouldn’t create the vision. Leaders create the space and provide the support to develop a shared vision that represents the aspirations of the people who power the organization. Like a choir director, the leader then helps bring those voices together to create a remarkable sound.
On the 8th day of Christmas, Frederick gave to me…
Eight monkeys making,
Monkeys are the tasks that others try and “give” to you. Monkeys make work for you and, worse they make a distraction. Monkeys may be important to the monkey owner, but not to you. You don’t need to accept every “gift.” Acknowledge the monkey, but let it stay with its true owner.
On the 9th day of Christmas, Frederick gave to me…
Nine deeds demanding,
The one most essential thing! Demanding equals urgent, but urgent does not equal important! In this new year, I wish for you to be purposeful in all you do. People before deeds, and purpose before demands.
On the 10th day of Christmas, Frederick gave to me…
Ten fingers typing,
Do not confuse productivity for progress or action for improvement. Strategic leaders do not focus on action, they focus on incremental progress. In doing so, they consistently make things better with fewer words.
On the 11th day of Christmas, Frederick gave to me…
‘Leven people asking,
Being strategic means that we are intentional, and because we are intentional we ask before we act. Asking questions lets us identify problems so we avoid wasting time treating symptoms. When we include all stakeholders in questioning process, we usually have a better outcome.
On the 12th day of Christmas, Frederick gave to me…
Twelve leaders laughing,
Oh, but we take ourselves so seriously! And yet, the trees don’t care, the fish don’t care, and the world moves on with or without you. Be passionate about what you do. Recognize the value you bring to others. But always remember to laugh, for what kind of a leader can we be if we cannot laugh?
I hope you have enjoyed reading and reflecting over these past 12 days as much as I have enjoyed writing and sharing with you. And that you laughed 🤣 🤣 🤣