Category: ED Leaders

What made your list of leadership qualities to have in 2022?

Being a leader in 2022 is the same, different, or we don’t know? Do the qualities and skills need to be the same? What are your thoughts? Do we need different leadership qualities? What is the most important quality for a leader? Why?

I believe a job title does not define leadership. Leadership is part of our lives at different stages and areas. We provide opportunities for children to explore, experience, and engage in leadership. We have many lists of characteristics and qualities created over many decades to identify excellent leaders. Has leadership changed? Do the qualities change? How can we help children grow to become great leaders?

We need your help! Tell us what qualities do great leaders need.

Wednesday Wisdom

Which comes first, wisdom or knowledge? Wisdom is built on knowledge. So does that mean you can be both wise and knowledgeable? Then you can’t be wise without being knowledgeable. What do you think? Is it the same as an egg before chicken or the chicken before an egg?

Knowledge is knowing about something. I have knowledge of the food in my garden and what grows on my trees. Wisdom is knowing how to apply the knowledge I have. In addition, how to use it in context. Like this old example: knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to use it in a fruit salad. However, some people would say this is common sense.

I believe knowledge is gathered from learning and education. The more knowledge you gain about a subject area you can be identified as an expert in the area. Just because you have knowledge, it does not make you wise. When you have knowledge, you can make decisions with clarity of facts and truths.

In order for individuals to gain wisdom, it must be gathered from day-to-day experiences and is a state of being wise. Wisdom is the practical ability to make consistently good decisions in life from the individual’s knowledge and experience.

Wisdom is a virtue. Is that a true statement? Wisdom can only be acquired through experience. Anyone who is interested in trying new things, reflecting on the process, analyzing, testing your knowledge and having a growth mindset has the ability to gain wisdom. In this process one should have knowledge first in order to become wise.

How do you compare knowledge and wisdom? Do you know individuals who are wise?

Teachers and Leaders, encourage failure!

This title may need to be explained! It is not that I am encouraging all of us to fail but to innovate and become resilient. The title is also not saying teachers and leaders encourage their students to fail. It is the approach and strategies we use to help children grow.

One year the theme I selected for our school year was “Failure is not an option at SVMS,” based on the book written by Alan Blankstein. In his book, he points out six principles that guide student achievement. It is a perfect book to utilize with staff to work on improvement plans, reviewing data on instructional needs, practices, and curriculum. I was and am impressed with Alan Blankstein because he shares his own stories of struggles and how educators do change the lives of others.

But my title says, “encourage failure?” You can utilize the theme and the practices by engaging in examples of why it is okay to fail but not stop. We have many examples in history of individuals who failed but continued to try and found success.

15 People who failed on their way to success!

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/15-highly-successful-people-who-failed-their-way-success.html

Children need opportunities to learn, explore and discover. It is acceptable to take risks, chances, make mistakes and fail. Is your classroom or school environment a place where children feel safe to make mistakes, or are they working in an “answer getters” mindset where the correct answer is the only way?

I want to repeat one of my phrases for you: “Education is something we do with children, not to them.” To help build a growth mindset, innovation, creativity, resiliency, and academic success, “encourage failure.” Suppose children focus only on reaching the correct answer without inquiring the why, how, and what; then the next level of learning is never reached. How will we find the next discovery, cure a disease, invent a new idea or solve a global problem if we do not help our children learn how to dig deeper in their learning.

Feel free to reach out to Alan Blankstein @AlanBlankstein. If you have not picked up any of his books please check out his latest book Breakthrough Leadership https://us.corwin.com/en-us/nam/author/alan-m-blankstein

Help children build resilience by embracing the understanding of failure and the lessons they bring to help make toolboxes to conquer more issues as they are part of their path.

Leaders see solutions

Leadership is about solutions. Problems are all around seeking our attention. Can you identify the leader in the group when working?

If we keep our focus always on problems, solutions are hard to see. Do you know individuals who only see problems?

What is the solution in helping others focus on solutions? Do you have ideas? Please share….I will tomorrow

Time for Vision

We planned a family vacation, and I prepared for it in advance. We just returned from the ten-day vacation. I worked to complete writing prior to the vacation so my daily blog post could continue in my absence. I wanted to be present for both, so I “managed time” by planning.

Our family decision was to drive in two vehicles, so I thought it would be perfect to take along books and my writing materials to continue to move forward “saving time.”

Reflecting and reviewing this vision as we began our journey to spend “family time,” I quickly realized my vision of saving was not the right choice.

Our visions of “practical” does not match “meaningful.” What are the choices we are making that will be sustainable and impactful? How do we want our world, education, families, communities and even ourselves look, act and be?

I spent my time having meaningful conversations, taking in the beautiful scenery, enjoying music, laughter continuously and endless stories. So many moments of memories made for our children!

We find ourselves trapped in a cycle of trying to work as fast as we can, gain as much as we can to achieve more, but the cost of this price tag is extreme. Our values, beliefs, and motivations influence the effectiveness of our leadership.

Just for a moment, I caught myself falling back into a “routine” of stealing time from segments of life to feed another part. The reality of this message is: Time can not be changed. You can not gain more in the day. Everyone receives the same amount each day. Spend the time wisely, but do not think you can gain time. I am thankful for my writing ahead and realizing the need to be present for the time with family.

Education is constantly changing. We see how quickly our world can change. There are many issues, ideas, problems, and suggestions for solutions. As you begin to think about what you would like to “see” in your vision, reflect on the impact the choices you make have on all of the elements involved.

Leadership-Solution focused

There are many variations of leadership styles and approaches. Leaders find themselves utilizing parts and pieces of methods to design their personalized style. The bottom line is to integrate what works into an existing management structure to accomplish the desired goals.

How do you describe your leadership to others? What is your style? I have foundational pieces of my leadership style and approach that never vary. They have been consistent in every position I have held.

Let me first explain a little about the solution-focused leadership I utilize. When you first think about solution-focused, you believe the leader is working to create problem-free environments. A place where having an issue, making a mistake, or identifying a problem is not the focus. We are only interested in the solution. It does not work like that at all.

Solution-focused provides leaders with opportunities to increase their team members’ or employees’ decision-making, judgments, and motivation. This process focuses on what is working, how it is working, and how to keep it going. The mindset is always to be quick to look at the positives and to increase them! Our minds should not always go right to the problem without first recognizing the work of the positive results. If we see problems only, we will fail to get to a mindset of growth. We will be in a deficit mindset always if our focus is on problems.

You can be the most effective leader around, but….. Yes, there will always be a but! You and your team or staff will have problems, issues, mistakes, and things we cannot imagine today will happen (COVID-19). It will be fine if we prepare with a solution-focused leadership mindset.

How can you foster solution-focused mindset?

  • Keeping a forward-thinking focus. “What is the end result desired?”
  • Pause. Approach problems from the right direction and with a clear lens.
  • Ask for feedback. Identify problems you may have as a leader you cannot see. (Can’t find a solution to a problem you cannot identify.)
  • Technology is a key to be used to unlock doors to learning, training, discovery, innovation, and more.
  • “Education is something we do with children, not to them.” Provide choices about how to learn, goal setting, and displaying what they are learning. Bring the joy of learning to your classrooms.
  • Social-Emotional learning is not a stand-alone curriculum or program scheduled daily. It needs to be a piece of fabric weaved into all aspects of the learning environment and culture.

I describe my leadership as a solution-focused leader with a service heart. My goals are to be a resource for others, provide opportunities for continued growth, a guide like a compass as travelers choose their direction, and inspire daily. As a leader, I have recognized the importance of consistency, authenticity, clear communication, trust, organization, and modeling. I have consistently stated my “two rules” for the past two decades. Children have embraced these rules young and old. They are easy to understand and apply.

You can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution; the choice is always yours to make. Thank you for being the solution daily! We all have so much we can do each day!