Tag: #leadershipfirstquotes

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

If this is your first time reading a post of mine, let me please tell you I am not an ordinary individual who always does things the way you expect them to be done. So….I love Walt Disney, crazy acronyms, inspirational videos, music, and thinking way outside the box people feel comfortable being inside of with no complaints, well, a few. When asked, “Who else has tried this or is doing this?” No one, I don’t follow the paths of others; they follow mine. This needs to be your response to get things going!

I was an Assistant Principal in my hometown middle school with an enrollment of 300. It was not too long that I found myself as Principal of a middle school in a large unit district with an enrollment of 600. A very diverse group of students, low-economic and other challenges the students and families faced to thrive. Staff also faced many challenges as they had administrative changes often and did not have opportunities to connect for sustainability. The first words I thought of when I looked at the big picture for all of them was: relationships, trust, connections, and solutions. They all had been through so much and needed the essential foundations to build. We needed solutions that would not be complicated, simple to apply, gave all of us ownership, but most importantly, trust in ourselves, peers, staff, and community.

It takes work, time, and effort to make this kind of climate and culture change. It does not happen on day one. Consistency in what you say and do, today, tomorrow, and every day after. Believe entirely in what you are doing because the perspective of others is what counts in making the change!

On day one with the students, I asked them all to the gymnasium to sit in the bleachers to introduce myself. I asked all staff to leave. Say what? The looks on the faces of the staff matched that of the students. “This lady is crazy; she is not going to make it on day one!” I repeated, “It is okay staff, Take a 10-minute break.” Finally, they began to move. I could still see them standing in the outer hallway. Did they not trust the kids or me? Maybe both of us?

I raised my hand. I started asking kids to raise theirs. Soon everyone had their hands raised. No one was talking but looking at me, all 600. This is how I start to speak. I will raise my hand; you do the same and look at me with no talking so we can begin. I trust and respect you, so I do not want to yell. Could you show the same to me by following this procedure? Hands down

This is when I also tell them about only having two rules. We will talk more about how to implement these at a different time.

“How many of you looked in the mirror today? Come on; it is middle school. I know you did! In our main hallway, you will find a mirror I placed there. I will place some particular messages around it each week, so when you look in the mirror, you can think about my message.”

The one for this week is:

“Mind is a flexible mirror, adjust it, to see a better world.”

Amir Ray

I was placed here to be your Principal. Many people from my hometown thought I had done something wrong. I asked why? They said because this was a horrible school. No way. It is not, and we will show you!

Now, please think about their perspective. People have a perspective that this school is not good. I am looking at you and know we can change that perspective. All we have to do is make a few adjustments in their minds to see through the mirror the greatness inside this school. It will take trust, connecting with our community, building relationships, and working on solutions. This will take time, effort, and hard work, but this will be the best school ever!

Active lessons in the halls

The mirror in the hallway costs $3.00 on clearance. It was one of those dorm room mirrors for doors. It worked out perfectly in our hallway, hanging horizontally. All students passed this intersection so they could all look in the mirror and receive my message. I am happy to help you with messaging if you have a specific area you want to address. It did help and was successful, along with a few other things we did. Our staff, students, families, and community worked hard to turn this school around to find success.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, what do you see? Students and staff working to achieve!

  • “The mirror reflects what you want to see, but those who see you reflect on what they see.”-Brenda Yoho
  • Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.
  • “Reflect what you want others to see and be.”-Brenda Yoho
  • Mirrors don’t lie. They only show part of the truth.
  • “What you see in others has more to do with you than them!”-Brenda Yoho
  • “Your words are a mirror of your character; choose them carefully.”-Venkat Desireddy

In the quiet

Since a young child, blank pages have called to me. Finding comfort in filling them with words whispered to me from the quiet. Echoes in the breeze carried messages of hope for the day, as sunlight brought warmth to fuel it. Shadows began to dance across the page. Soon darkness will be upon us with only a sliver of the moon and the stars to light the way. Rest is what we will need now as we wait for the sun to bring a new day and new pages to fill.

Find a quiet place, to have a quiet moment, and to enjoy the quiet time. How long can you stay? Is it very far? How will I know when I find it? Will anyone be there?

Many blessings to you on this quiet day……..

Knowledge and Wisdom

Are knowledge and wisdom the same? Can you have one without the other?

Growing in our life journey brings us to many milestones. We celebrate when we reach them and acknowledge the achievements we make. We gain knowledge through learning in school. Memorizing facts, solving equations, discovering historical timelines and more.

Take a look around your environment. Do you see evidence of knowledge? What about wisdom? Do others recognize them? How are knowledge and wisdom shared? Is it accepted?

I know knowledge can be found in textbooks, books from the library, informational videos on the internet, museums and other places we search out. However, knowledge can be found in an individual. My husband will get phone calls on questions to answer as people would do on a google search. However, the knowledge he has would not be found in a search. Is this knowledge or wisdom? Maybe both! The work he does is not something many people are doing. Will this be lost when he stops?

Wisdom is more important in our life, I believe. Wisdom fuels our hearts and refines our minds. It comes to us through our experiences and knowledge; when we add our faith the intentions are made clear. When it comes to faith you are not to stand still. In faith, knowledge and wisdom, you are to continue to grow, learn and live every day of your life fully. The more you do, the better you become. If you share your knowledge, wisdom, and faith, the more seeds you plant, it will continue to grow.

Share, grow, learn and experience. I am reminded of the seasons when I think about the importance of the factors that keep us moving forward.

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.

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

In your absence….

What happens when the leader is gone? Do you lead so that it does not matter if you are present or not, the work is completed? My sister told me a story about how the staff was happy when their boss left for a few weeks on medical leave. The feel of the building changed, everyone was more content, and the work was done better.

What kind of environment, culture, and procedures are in place? Is it possible to work with leaders who help to make others better?