Category: Solution-Focused Leadership

Leadership Reset…No Way!

Watching the Open golf tournament with my husband and a player hits the ball, it makes it to the green, it rolls and hits the flag, denying a hole in one. What? Wait a minute. I call interference. That should count. My husband only laughs at me. It is no laughing matter; I am sure for the golfers or leaders when they realize they have made a big mistake.

Some mistakes we make are lessons we can learn from. I just posted a blog about helping students understand it is okay to make mistakes. However, when you make a mistake with character, there is no turning back.

When staff members do not trust their leaders, it causes big trouble! Let me restate that remark. When staff members have valid reasons that are proven not to trust their leaders, this is critical. When you reread these statements, significant differences between these two statements can be found. In some environments, you have toxic individuals who always look for trouble—explaining my first statement. Disruption in your building or organization will happen if these are not addressed. However, when a leader does not lead with character, this is critical to the structure and organization. Trust will be gone, and no growth will happen.

Some examples would be:

  • Leaders have taken credit for staff member’s work.
  • Throwing staff under the bus- blaming
  • Fabricating- Lying
  • Inauthenticity-changing when it seems like the best thing to do for themselves
  • Point out mistakes, belittle, criticize in front of others constantly
  • Playing favorites (everyone can see and hear the ones who get the most attention)
  • Ego driven leadership style
  • Lack of communication and transparency -Staff avoid conversations for fear of retaliation
  • Staff feel in the dark, neglected, and avoided

We are human, and we make mistakes. Recovery from breaking trust with staff is not a reset you can do. There are many things to do when you make a mistake staff will need to move forward. The first is to own it. Apologize for the mistake you made and explain the action steps you will take to correct and prevent it from happening again.

Leadership is like everything else in life. The more practice you have, the better it gets. To change anything, you need to start with, as Michael Jackson says, “The Man in the mirror.” To be politically correct, let’s say, person.

Mistakes, Do you make them?

It is so important to teach children it is okay to make mistakes. We do not make them with intent or to cause harm. Mistakes occur when we dare to try something new, utilize our creativity or innovation, attempt to solve a problem, and the list can continue of examples. It all leads to the same factor…we are human!

Can you imagine where we would be today if all of the great inventors decided not to take a chance? If that were the case, then the device you are using to read these words would not be around.

Celebrate the lessons mistakes bring to us. It is so tricky when the mistake may have brought harm to you or someone else. I have experienced all of those mistakes, and it is hard to accept and not to wonder why.

I can think of many people in sports, entertainment, politics, and everyday life who have experienced a mistake that cost them something valuable in their life. Still, they have utilized it to bring even more to an already gifted life.

I am blessed. I would not have said that several years ago. I could only see the mistake, problems, and losses. However, now I can see that my words can fill this page and, with a click, could help someone see the mistake, a problem, or a loss can bring you to a new place to provide for others and breathe new directions for you.

Thank you for reading, following, sharing, and being a solution daily. The goal only needs to be one individual and if it is more, then job well done!

Embracing Messy Leadership in Schools and Beyond

The Case of Embracing Messy Leadership in Schools By Sean Slade and Alyssa Gallagher Jul 7, 2021 @https://www.edsurge.com

A great piece to read! They list the benefits of messy leadership as follows:

Messy Leadership has many benefits: 

  • Multiplying Perspective – in short taking the broader view of an issue and of the potential outcomes. It is moving away from a short term or myopic view of an individual problem.
  • Emotional Connection – bringing emotion and empathy back into leadership and into decision making.
  • Seizing Momentum – being prepared to adjust or alter course and be not stuck in a predetermined path or process. This requires flexibility in thinking and a willingness to admit mistakes.
  • Sensing the Future – being open to new ideas, solutions, and processes, and testing them quickly. Leaders create quick learning loops with rapid iterations where ideas are prototyped and tested without going through full committee cycles.
  • Your Ego – being comfortable with “I don’t know” and putting your ego and your role as the traditional leader aside.

My thoughts:

During the global pandemic, and even as we share ideas today, it is messy. There are many points of view, guidelines being shared, professional opinions that contradict each other making clear decisions difficult.

At this time, we can recognize no matter what workforce you belong in; the world is changing at a rapid pace. We can only expect some “messy” points. Maintaining a solution-focused mindset to your leadership keeps the focus on the pathway to results.

When you can focus on solutions, you will see possibilities. Possibilities drive positivity for opportunities. When you focus on problems, you only see more problems. Problems cause negativity and blame. To be the solution daily, you can see the choice you and your team need to make. Will it be “messy?” The answer is yes! The recommended acronym is excellent! I love doing acronyms. They are fun to remember and to do. However, we tend to have too many of them in education.

Enjoy looking at your messy approach and see what works. It is easy finding problems, but solutions take creativity, thought, and collaboration.

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?

The Message

U.S. Students Show no improvements in Math, Reading, Science.

When did that headline message appear? The news may not read the same, but it clearly states the facts. Our students have not and are continuing to not perform at a high level compared to other countries. You can find these headlines from 2013 to the present time.

In December, 2013, Greg Palkot reported American high school students slip in global education rankings.

“Overall, according to the U.S. Department of Education, American students rankings in math have slipped from 24th to 29th compared to the last test in 2010. In science, they’ve gone from 19th to 22nd, and from 10th to 20th in reading.” “When the last study was released, Education Secretary Duncan said it was a “wake-up call for education administrators.”

Yes, I was part of the administration during this time. As I say to my students, “You can be part of the problem or part of the solution.” I can look back at all of the efforts and things I know we worked hard to do right. I also know we could always do better. In the end, I know many schools were just like us.

Everyone focuses on the problems or “root causes” of these headlines. However, it is when we change our mindsets we can see solutions. The first thing people want to do is throw money at the problem. Money is not the issue when you look at all of the countries. We spend more per student than any other country.

Our next choice when we focus on problems is placing blame. It is poverty, diversity issues, high levels of immigration-nope the other countries have these attributes as well.

U.S. Students show no improvements in Math, Reading, Science on International Exam December 3, 2019, U.S. News by Lauren Camera The most troubling among the results was that an international performance gap in education is widening.

Washington Post also ran an article (I have provided the link to the article) written by Moriah Balingit and Andrew Van Dam

Can we stop what we are currently doing in the headlines with education? The message being sent is not the focus of what is needed for the success of our children. I have some additional headlines and things to consider for another day. As a country, what do we want for our children as they prepare for a global working world? Read about the thoughts of how U.S. students are not as engaged, motivated, or had the endurance.

What are your thoughts on education?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/us-students-continue-to-lag-behind-peers-in-east-asia-and-europe-in-reading-math-and-science-exams-show/2019/12/02/e9e3b37c-153d-11ea-9110-3b34ce1d92b1_story.html

Roll out the red carpet!

It is time for some new headlines! What is the message you want to send? Roll out the red carpet and make your own stars! Put up pictures of your staff, students, or whatever you want to highlight.

Just ask me, and I can help you put some joy, laughter, motivation, feeling safe, and so much more. We are all here to help each other!

Acceptance

“Life is not always what one wants it to be. A turn right instead of the left can make a difference on the path you choose. It is when you decide to make the best of it, as it is, even when the choices are not what you want to hear. Instead, you take each day as a gift to unwrap and to make it happy as you share with others.”

The pictures tell a story in your mind right away. You have a vision without any words of red lights, blue lights, sirens sounding, voices yelling orders, people gathering, and silence in the ears of a man who comes to the site looking for his family he just left ten minutes ago.

Have you had to accept a decision, a change or an individual as a leader? The scene from our car crash can be the same kind of sounds and feelings inside you when faced with trying to accept change. Emotions drive our reactions.

It is emotional when you have to face acceptance of decisions you have no control over. It is our choice to have the mindset of learning acceptance. Change happens often! Things can happen that will transform who you are and have an impact on your life. The problem is that we need to cultivate the ability to accept whatever comes and embrace it truly. If we can begin now, it will help us as we continue to grow. Change can often impact our lives in ways to help us as we affect the lives of others.

My accident closed one door I did not want to close but opened others I enjoy as I explore. What change are you resistant to? If it is a change that questions your values, patriotism, beliefs, or morals, then this is not a change you need to accept. Acceptance is a big word to discuss as many changes are happening each day.

I have accepted my changes from the accident. Although, I will admit I have good days and days when I am angry that I am not the person I was. We are not perfect. I can think of many incidents in my life when I was asked to accept something I did not want to at all. Change comes with many lessons we can learn. What change do you face?

Helping others focus on solutions

Be the solution daily isn’t something I decided one day sounded good; it is a daily practice I have used professionally and personally for decades. It is my hope to help and guide others into this practice for success.

Where we place, our focus is crucial for our success. It seems we are quick to point out a problem, mistake and place blame. Have you had a finger pointed at you?

When our focus is on the problem, anger shadows the thinking. Your mind can only give it’s full attention to one thing at a time. Negative thoughts overtake you when your focus is the problem.

Solution-focused turns back control to help you positively resolve troubles. By looking for solutions in every situation, problems will disappear and happiness returns.

Now this sounds a little like one of what my granddaughter calls, “cheesy stuff.” However, when following the guidelines it really is how it works.

Helping others focus on solutions begins with mindsets. Focusing on solutions creates a very different climate and culture. The thinking, actions, and behaviors will change.

Let’s begin with these steps:

  • Problems we face are usually self-inflicted. Would you please take a deep breath and tell yourself it is my responsibility? Then you may have issues directly impacting you, and maybe you did not have anything to do with the decision-making process. *This is when you need to begin to do some examples of problem vs. solution games. (I can help provide examples)
  • What is the desired outcome? Your vision to resolve the problem? When we begin to focus in solutions, it leaves little time for negative thinking. The only thing that matters is resolving the problem.
  • Once you know the outcome-begin the planning of getting from here to there.

Solution Mindset

We begin to think of solutions first once we are aware we cannot control the actions of others, the complex data, or the current issue before us. However, the only things we control are our actions and reactions by clarification of what we face with a focus on the importance of the solution, the negative thinking about the problem stop.

Are you interested in a Two Rule School? It changes the climate, culture and focuses on student leadership. There is so much more to this concept that leads to positive results.

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

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!