Category: Servant Leadership

Lead from where you are!

When do you become a leader? Is it when you finally get that top spot or the title you have been dreaming of? Think about the leaders you know; what titles do they have? What characteristics do they have? The best questions are:

  • Why do you think they are leaders?
  • Why do you follow them?
  • Do they know they are a leader?

In our world today, we need great leadership. I have always said, “ Leadership is not a title, a position, or a picture of a person you can describe. It is a heart, purpose, calling, and desire to serve others as you model leadership.”

Where are you today?

Where do you want to be in five years?

What are you doing to help yourself move in the direction you plan to go?

I recommend the book Simple Truths of Leadership, 52 Ways to be a Servant Leader and Build Trust by Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley. This book will provide you with the best way to continue to grow, build capacity within your team, help engage as a coach or mentor. The book’s setup offers a weekly Simple Truth to follow. The big topics are identified, discussion guide at the back of the book to correlate with the #number you select. You can start anywhere you want! I love this book! I am biased a little because I have followed Ken Blanchard throughout my career! I continue to learn from his leadership.

I bought an extra copy to share with someone else! Who has the best story to share of why they need to have my extra copy? Please pick up a copy or two, share, start a book study! I will be happy to help you through Zoom! We need you! I am happy to serve in helping you grow! We are the solution daily as we work together in a world that needs all of you!

Measuring Meaningfulness

I constantly measure the meaningfulness of the messages I send, the information I share, and how I impact those who choose to read my posts. I intend to always help with driving solution-focused thinking and increasing the positives we share in day-to-day interactions.

One thing missing is an opportunity for others to share what they would like me to focus on to help them in what they are doing. I want to pause and organize this blog to work for those who need it to work for them. My idea is to dedicate each day to a particular topic. Examples could be: Monday: Motivation, Inspiration, Meetings Tuesday: Teaching, Thoughts, Talking Points, Communication Wednesday: Wisdom, Wit, Things to Ponder Thursday: Takeaways, Things to Share, Activities for team building Friday: Facts, Factors, Leadership Saturday: Solutions, Strategies, Plans. Sunday: Spiritual, Social-Emotional, Mental Health

Maybe you don’t want to read something daily. What if you wanted something in one post? If this is your desire, what day would you choose to receive it, and what do you need the content to include?

Be the solution daily is for you. I want to thank all of my followers and those who have invested their time. Starting today, I will take a two-week break while I gather information on the direction of this blog.

Keep being the solution daily for all as we serve others in making the world better one day at a time.

October is a time to celebrate!

I believe you can always find something to celebrate! Many people will say holidays were created so people in the card business could sell more cards. Sounds like a great business plan. However, I don’t think that is a factual statement. A fact check opportunity for someone.

October marks the start of fall for me, harvest time for farmers, and the best one of all….National Principal Appreciation Month! I love celebrating Principals! It was the best job I ever had!

What do Principals do? What have you seen them do? Do you know a Principal? Can you remember your Principal?

“What time is it?”

“It is 4:30.”

“In the morning?”

“Yes, I need to get in early so I can get to the bus garage. I am going to ride a bus today because it has been having some issues.”

“Do you need some help in here serving lunch today?”

“You are the Principal you do not have time to help in here.”

“We are short in the kitchen, and kids need to eat, so I believe we are a team. So could you put me in coach?”

“I forgot my book bag at home.”

“Do you need things in it, or do I have stuff in my office you can use today?”

“I need my homework, uniform and my permission slip for the field trip.”

“Okay, let’s call to see if I can run you home to get it.”

“I do not want to live anymore without my brother.”

“I know how hard all of the last few weeks have been. My husband has lost both brothers, but he was not in middle school or a twin. I can not promise you it will be easy, but I can tell you how many supports will be here for you. Can we start with one day and then another? Can I help get supports in place?”

Principals make sure teachers are ready to teach, have what they need, check on the safety of the building. This is not a job but a calling of service. Every minute of the day is filled with meeting the needs of those they serve. It does not stop when the school bell rings to end the day; in fact, it continues in ways they are happy to share, and in other moments they feel the most profound heartbreak.

I celebrate this month the expectancy of a baby girl with two of my former students as they invite me to the celebration. Then I find myself joining in the mourning of the loss of a former student whose death is unresolved. Would you please pray for the family of Jelani Day and the help to resolve #JusticeforJelaniDay?

If you have an opportunity, thank a Principal serving today, as they are balancing more than ever. All educators are doing so much during this time to help the leaders for the future.

Ambition

Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher

Cultivating Healthy Ambition

Ambition is an essential element to an organization and individual. Ambition begins with understanding the desires, aspirations, and goals you have for yourself and your team. What exactly are your desired outcomes for yourself and those of your team?

Knowing and understanding how far to reach is key to harnessing healthy ambition. Setting goals that require just the right level of difficulty push and struggle helps ensure to reach beyond your current abilities. Suppose the challenge is too great; a risk of giving up or becoming discouraged when target goals fall short happens. If the challenge isn’t significant enough, a risk of disconnecting, not being engaged, and never reaching the levels of total performance is accomplished.

I worked with a young ambitious leader who was very talented. His desire to accomplish was greater than the skill levels of himself and his team. They pushed full steam ahead, but lacked the ability to sustain all of the components of their plans. Piles of data was collected, but being able to utilize it wisely with a targeted purpose was missing. They could accomplish some small wins, but the frustration levels grew with trying to maintain the action plans. Creating the action plans was difficult to establish because the data seemed to become outdated by the time they reviewed it together. It became overwhelming with the stacks of data collected.

There is more to accomplish than performance with ambition. We need to think about growth, achievement, sustainable and solution-focused ambitions. Each of these requires more in-depth conversations we can continue in future blog posts. We need a balance for ambition to find the formula for success. In the meantime, ponder these questions with your purpose of performance:

Questions for Focus

  • What are our current performance goals?
  • What goals can you reach with your efforts?
  • What goals can you help guide your team in accomplishing?
  • How can the efforts of “all” work together to accomplish the goals?
  • Do the goals need to be prioritized?
  • Have you assigned timelines, responsibilities, tasks, or other ways to accomplish them?
  • What do I wish was different today?
  • What frustrates me the most?
  • Have I asked the team any of these questions?
  • Do I listen to the team, data and information?

When we work only on performance ambition, our teams may look to us in different ways. If our goals seem unattainable, they will look at us as being “unrealistic.” Maybe you have set too many or too high of goals. The team believes you are setting them up for failure.

What if you do not take any risks and have too few of goals? The team thinks you do not believe in them, you are not a risk-taker and you have low expectations.

We do not want to lose our sense of purpose. Our team must believe in the goals, values, and beliefs we establish. It is essential to keep a check on the level of ambition we have and to maintain high sustainable energy to develop the accomplishments we want to achieve.

Fill in the blank

If you could fill in this blank what would it say?

Leadership is the ________ towards an uncertain world.

“All life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”~Dr. Martin Luther King (1967)

Leaders _______to make a difference.

I plan to_________.

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”~President JFK

It is those who not only fill in the blanks but provide the leadership in the gaps between as we find ourselves looking forward to the future. Would you please share your thoughts on leadership? What do you see are the needs in leadership?

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!

Thursday Thoughts

I enjoy reading, learning, and always stretching myself to find solutions to share with others. Leadership is essential in supporting growth in every aspect of life. We want to grow in our personal life, faith, family, work, and community. I am sharing information from Bill Dodd and his insights. The resource for his post is below.

One of the important lessons I have gained in my journey is that of coaching. We need coaching! As individuals being open to coaching or “coachable” is critical for your growth. When you are the coach, you are still receiving coaching as you learn by doing. Having an open mind and heart will provide essential pieces to the puzzle of growth.

Chicago White Sox scout Kevin Burrell said, “Look for FAT people. Faithful – Available – Teachable.” He also added, “How one manages their ‘Time & Calendar’ will reflect the condition and priority of their heart.”-Bill Dodd, June 9,2021

When looking for coaches, players, teammates, or new employees with heart, look for SCRAPPY individuals.

SCRAPPY – Skill, Calling, Rejection, Attitude, Perseverance, Purposeful, Yearn to Learn.

  • Skill – The ability to perform with excellence. Even people with heart need to have talent. There was a reason Rudy never started a game for Notre Dame.
  • Calling – This is the thing inside you which proclaims, “This ONE thing I must do!!!” Mike Linch said, “It’s the core of me.” He also noted, “David conquered the giant of a disconnected heart.”
  • Rejection – Remember that time when someone said you weren’t good enough, that you didn’t measure up? Of course you do. This challenged your calling but you moved forward anyway. Rejection provided clarity. It stripped away all non-essentials. You worked even harder. It limited your choices and spurred work hard and creativity to find solutions.
  • Attitude – Attitude determines your altitude. A great attitude separates evenly matched people and closes the gap on those more talented than you. You have a great attitude because you can’t believe you get to do what you do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
  • Perseverance – Because your calling is so clear, you learn perseverance through difficult and trying times. You are willing to pay the price needed for your dream to become reality. You become mentally-strong and resilient.
  • Purposeful – Perseverance and resilience births a focused approach. Your life has meaning and direction. Because you have paid the price for success, there is a single-mindedness to it. As Coach Stroupe said, “Don’t compartmentalize. (Don’t say) I’m coaching now but will put my Christian hat on when I get off the field.”
  • Yearn To Learn – Scrappy people are continual learners. They are humble and seek out all the coaching, people, resources and information needed for success. You can’t stop them. They will always find a way. Continual learning helps ensure future success.

We all want people with “heart.” Here are the 7 things to look for when finding them.

@briankdodd

Wednesday Wonders…

The final school bell for 2021 has rung for most of our students. Students have their final report cards but do we wonder how all of our schools did? What about education?

  • How did all of the students across our nation do in 2021?
  • How did the schools and districts do for our students?

The importance of education is essential for all of our students as we grow. The expertise to help all children is available to us. It is not found in a particular program or a defined environment. The success is found in the expertise in the experience of all of those serving children.

  • It is the data and research collected to utilize in decision making
  • Identifying strategies and procedures that worked to focus on enhancing instruction
  • Having curiosity and willingness to continue learning to enhance the quality of offerings for students
  • A reminder kids are kids no matter where they live, the color of their skin, the challenges they face, or the disabilities. Each one can, will, and wants to learn.

The key to opening the door to expertise is sharing. Opening this door is the hardest thing for educators to do. We chase shiny objects as a quick fix, the grant dollars need us to spend money on programs, there is no time for this and the list continues.

Narratives dictate the focus of what education is focusing on. Society influences what is to be focused on in education instead of what is truly needed. Education needs to remember the priority of what they do. Our children deserve our focus on the foundation of their needs not the political agenda of the day. Education is not something to play around with but a critical piece of a child’s life and everyone’s future.

Be the solution by standing up for education! I wonder if people will begin to understand how important this is today. We have no time to waste! Speaking of time, my granddaughter shared with me how many of her friends cannot tell time. She says, “they really don’t teach time anymore.” Oh, she was just finishing 7th grade. Also, they don’t teach cursive writing, but we teach time and writing at home.

Change the glasses you are looking through for a moment and see the future. If we do not raise the bar on the quality of our education our nation will fall further behind others. Be the solution daily as we support education.

What wonders do you have about education? I have more, but what are yours? There are many other wonders for me in the world and we will continue to look at them.

Fundamental Friday

In our lives we have fundamental things, activities and principles that are important to us. We can believe strongly in some as an essential part of who we are or part of our purpose of being.

People seeking meaning beyond themselves seem to be happier, healthier, and live longer. I have no data to confirm that statement, only my observations. I like to think of myself in the category of seeking meaning beyond myself and in service to others. I am happy; I have had some health issues, but I am in remission, which has been a big positive. I have also had some near misses to death resulting in living longer. According to my formula, it works!

The fundamental definition is – serving as a basis supporting existence or determining essential structure or function. Looking at the four pillars of the fundamental parts to our life is : Happiness, Self-Care, Relationships and Health

Take out a calculator and do this quick math calculation. This is “life math.” -Guide to Unlocking the Power of Purpose by Richard Leider

  • Multiply your age x365__________.
  • Then, subtract that number from 30,000, an average life expectancy.
  • Divide that number by 365_______
  • Now you are clear that you have _____more years to live. What will you do?

I know you have heard me say before, but I will repeat it: “Every day is a gift full of opportunities to unwrap.” I repeat phrases and words a great deal. I believe it is important in order to help reinforce the ideas to those you are serving, coaching and modeling for each day. My staff called them “Yohoisims.”

  • “Make it a great day or not the choice is yours to make”
  • “It is what it is, so it will be”
  • “We don’t know what we don’t know, do we”
  • “You have one foot on the outside and mine on your backside if you do not make some positive changes.”
  • “Do you know why you are tired? You bark all day.”
  • Many others to share but enough of the Yoho for today.

Look at your four fundamental areas and decide what improvements you can make. The following years of your life should fundamentally be full of “FUN” “DAily”/ “MENTAL” “Learning”/ “Yourself”-focusing on happiness, self-care, relationships, and health.

Servant Leadership

“The world is in desperate need of a new leadership model. Too many leaders have been conditioned to think of leadership only in terms of power and control. But there is a better way to lead—one that combines equal parts serving and leading.”-Ken Blanchard

Growing up, I was a timid young lady. People would never believe that about me today. My church provided me with many opportunities to learn about leadership and service. It felt natural to serve. I am blessed to have been guided by so many to help me be the person I am today.

I began with a quote from one of my favorite authors Ken Blanchard who helped me grow as a leader. Service leadership best describes my approach. It is not a leadership style but a behavior.

As a servant leader, you’re a “servant first.” The focus is on the needs of others before you consider your own. Working with others to provide them the support they need, seeing their perspective, and involving them in decisions can support building a sense of community. Individuals feel validated when we listen and take the time to understand all areas.

“Leaders who want to build a culture of trust, responsibility, and mastery need to share information with their people, especially during difficult times.”-Ken Blanchard

One of the characteristics you will find in a Service Leader is hope. Leaders maintain hope in difficult situations. They bring encouragement and believe that better times are ahead. They are looking at situations as opportunities for solutions. Hope is what they bring.

Take a look at your leadership. What kind of leader are you? What kinds of leaders do you have around you? What leadership do you believe we need at this time?

Building hope, serving others, and working for solutions together brightens the future in my opinion. I believe in providing our children with models of leadership and opportunities to be leaders. “Education is something we do with children, not to them.”-Brenda Yoho

Thank you for being part of the solution daily.