What a privilege I had this past week to help an organization that helped to instill in me the qualities of leadership needed for a successful career. For an organization to grow and to continue to thrive after 50 years is fantastic! The takeaways from the conference are many, but the most important one is, You Matter.
There has been no other time in history where leaders have had to do so many things, so fast, change again, and then change again. Oh wait, we have a few more things for you to do. COVID-19 brought illness, heartache, challenges, and heroes.
Tips and Techniques
Build a classroom for “working learners.”
- Begin with a blueprint for your workers
- Provide them with the tools they need
- Encourage them to look over the blueprints, ask “why” questions to get to the “what” and “ how” of the process
- Workers need to take their work personally and need to have power in influencing the environment and control of their future.
- Completing the work on one project can be applied to other projects. Helping workers understand and to see how their learned skills can transfer.
- Collaboration and teaching each other build skills to strengthen understanding and deepen learning.
- Looking for solutions, investigating, testing, and analyzing provides workers with opportunities to discover how to question rather than solve. Sometimes solving for a correct answer only misses out on additional learning opportunities.
- An essential part of “building” is constantly checking to assess the effectiveness and performance, giving feedback, reflecting on work, and determining what works and does not.
Wisdom & Wit
While at the Illinois Principal Conference this past week, I had the honor of hearing from two excellent speakers! Gerry Brooks, author of Go See the Principal: True Tales from the School Trenches, and Luis Cruz, co-author of Time for Change Essential Skills for Transformational School and District Leaders. If you have not watched any of Gerry Brooks’s videos, please do, and yes, he is that funny in person. Please grab a copy of his book as well. Luis Cruz was funny, but his story and dedication to the audience were touching to me. He personalized his talk with the principals and emphasized, “You Matter.” He gave many examples on how to change the description of your title to include many of the things these fantastic leaders do each day. Please pick up his book, get him to come to your school to speak, and follow him on social media.
Under the direction of Executive Director Dr. Jason Leahy, the Illinois Principals Association provides a wealth of resources. It supports leaders across the state and with others who have joined forces with them. Please feel free to check out their website. They provide space for school leaders to connect and share resources helping to keep collaboration and networking going. In addition, an Ed Leaders Network hosting 130+ courses, opportunities to post questions, share best practices, and engage with others.
The growth of this organization is because of outstanding leadership, clear vision, a definite purpose, and dedication to core values and beliefs. I am blessed to be a member of this Association since 2003 and proud of all the accomplishments.