If you type the word leadership into a Google search, you will find 13,570,000,000 results. So my conclusion from this activity is, everyone is “talking” leadership!
What I would like to offer is not only “ talking” leadership but also answering all of the why, how, what, when, and action steps to take. Leaders do not have time to search through all of this information to find the answers they seek. We needed information yesterday to deal with what is happening now.
Last week I was reminded of the place I always felt safe, comfortable to ask questions, and trusted all of the individuals in the organization no matter their position. The Illinois Principal Association became part of my life as I began my career in administration. My professional family!
I encourage all leaders to review their website and the offerings they have to those they serve. Each year it grows more robust because of the dedication of the staff who keep their vision, purpose, and mission at the core of what they do daily. I hope that every leader across our nation can connect to an organization like this during their leadership. One additional hope is to have a mentor and a coach.
Dr. Fred Singleton was my first Field Director and mentor at IPA. I had not seen him in years, but it was not long until we made eye contact. He had not changed one bit. He still made his rounds around the room, welcoming everyone and caring for their needs. I had asked a couple of people to come to sit at our table. We, of course, talked about leadership. Fred asked one of the leaders a question I had him ask me many years ago. “How do you know people are following you as a leader?” It was a great question 20 years ago and still today. He still knows what he is doing to push us as leaders. Don Hansen was my other Field Director and helped so much as I began coaching other leaders in the state. Don helped during some of my transitions and was always so encouraging. Don Dillion was another Field Director assigned to other areas, but always a caring man asking how I was doing. You see, these men, Fred and the Don’s, took a leader who fell all the way down and helped bring her back.
In 2010, a semi-truck hit our family vehicle, leaving all who saw the accident saying no one survived. Praise God, all did, leaving me with the most significant damages. I have a traumatic brain injury along with some other issues. They pushed, encouraged, and told me I could when I said I could not. They and the IPA are why I am where I am today. I am blessed, and so are all of those they serve.
It is exciting to see the new leaders, the determination, passion, and energy. The collaboration I saw in the rooms I was in charge of and watching the networking, I knew the growth would remain in IPA.
The message is clear for leaders You Matter. However, it does not stop with you. It has to start with you! You have to understand the importance of your role, how to take care of yourself to serve others, and to spread this message to everyone. It is in the authenticity of our messaging, actions, and modeling that counts.
Many blessings to all leaders!