Category: School Leaders

The Needs

When you wake up in the morning, the needs hit you right away! You have the need to get to the bathroom, find coffee, food of some kind, and find out the needs of the world around you!

If you have pets, children, spouses, or others in need of your attention, then you are already running late! It would help if you had been up hours ago, or maybe getting sleep is overrated. I was kidding!

I think you understand we live in a world where “the need” is at an all-time high. However, I believe need has been confused with some other words to make life harder for all of us.

A need is something to help provide a safe and healthy environment. We need clean air, water, land, food, clothes and safe environments in order to live. We may want to have the latest version of television, phone, gaming system, shoes from famous brands, and others wants. These wants and wishes are not essential to our health and well-being.

I, like many others, felt the loss of loved ones during the global pandemic. I did not feel the loss within my family, but distant relatives and friends. The needs of others were at an all-time high. We are so lucky to live in this country so needs could be met. Even then, it was not enough as we saw politics get in the way.

There is still a need and even bigger needs in our country. It is so important to look through all of the lenses to see the needs. When looking for solutions, you should always look at all viewpoints to fully understand.

One word echoes through clearly when we talk about addressing difficult topics…..the word is fear. Fear of the cancel culture, being labeled, having negative things said about you, and the list goes on. Well, I will tell you all of that can be true.

Assuming the responsibility of being a leader is a big job. If it were so great and easy, everyone would be one! I have been beaten up (not literally, although it felt like it) several times. Remember “the need.” Behavior is driven by need. Always start with why and what. Why are they?… What do they need?…

When you are faced with these situations it is easy to fall in line with similar behaviors of anger. Pause and remember not to take it personally (trust me, I know it is hard). There is always a reason behind the actions and reactions we take to situations we face. Everyone has a story.

I always like to reflect on words from Mother Teresa. She always provides me with the wisdom I “need.”

“See how nature-trees, flowers, grass-grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”~Mother Teresa

The world’s noise can be so loud we cannot hear the sounds of the needs calling from those so close to us. If we are quiet for a few moments, we can clearly hear the sounds coming from their hearts…the need! I hear the call, To be one nation under God. A desire to all live together in peace, harmony–equally in a safe and secure environment.

We have survived so much, won many battles, achieved so much, and have so much more to do together. Listen to the silent voices as they speak. Watch for the ways you can begin to help as you build trusting relationships. Leaders can be found in many places, not always with a title.

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!