Posted by: bwoof | May 24, 2015

Leadership tips from George

ELC_Logo_R_SmallOQ_Catholic_Principals_Council_of_OntarioLast November I attended a terrific 21st Century conference hosted by OPC, MOE and the Catholic Principals Association. All expenses paid. My only job was to learn. And learn, I did.

George Couros was the keynote and I have two take-aways, among many, that make a profound difference in my every day life.

First, he admonished every administrator to have a digital presence. I had that already, but had also peeled back on this six-year-old PLog due to family not-so-subtle-encouragement. My dear loved ones aptly noted that I was out of control and had a serious life/work imbalance. Indeed! But George inspired me to start again, but in a more sensible way.

Second, George invited me to consider Twitter as a great professional learning pipeline. As a long-time but skeptical Twitter person, I had more or less left the Tweet world because I deemed it too ‘twitty’.  George, however, showcased how I could use Twitter and Tweet Deck to have a ‘curated’ version of learning, something that is based on the respect I have for certain educators whom I choose to follow.

Incredible!  My 24/7 learning network now includes George and some other carefully selected folks whom I trust to not pollute my feed with twitty nothingness.  Instead, they enrich my understandings and press me on the hard stuff.

Case in point: Shown below is one portion of a link to George’s blog [emphasis mine]. Read his entire thought-pattern here.  It relates to my leadership inquiry and will maybe relate to my PLT gathering tomorrow. Thanks, George!

  1. How do I continuously model that I am willing to grow to those that I serve?

Asking people to take risks does not happen without leaders that openly model taking risks.  Leaders continuously learn and grow, but if it is hidden in a space where those we serve cannot see, then their reluctance to change is warranted by the lack of change happening from the “top” of the hierarchy.  Many feel, “Why would I change, when those above me are not willing to do the same?”

  1. Do people have an emotional connection to why change is imperative, not just what change looks like?

Leadership is about heart and mind; both elements need to be focused upon.  If we are not able to connect on a deeper level or feel why change is imperative, others will not be compelled to try something new, especially without the guarantee of immediate success.

  1. As leaders, have we removed barriers that help us to unleash talent, not control others?

People always want better, but they often not only deal with their own reluctance, but sometimes page after page of policies and procedures, or structures (both physical and organizational) that are barriers to change.

livingrockGrateful for:

  • Karin and Karen who are already prepping the annual CompassPoint Christmas show, “It’s a Wonderful Life”
  • Sandra and her capacity to celebrate the Arts
  • C and his deliverance from gangs in Hamilton; I saw him at Costco today and he reminded me that although school had been tough, it was even tougher to escape his involvement which began in Gr 4 or 5!  No kidding!  I remember helping him hide at the school after hours so he wouldn’t get beat up. Thank you to the good folks at Living Rock who helped him to the other side without getting harmed too badly. Today C is a welder at a local large manufacturing firm. He’s a dad to a bouncy 3-year-old whose mom, also a former student,  is 2/3 of the way through her high school diploma requirements. She said thanks for all we tried to do to help her graduate, but it just wasn’t, and still isn’t her time.

Curious about:

  • What ever happened to all of CC’s associates?  He tells me half of them are grown men now and able to make their own decisions; the other half are still causing trouble for themselves and others. Sad.  I still remember their names and faces, and to be totally honest, for some reason I recalled CC just a few days ago and wondered what became of him. Perhaps our happenstance Costco crossing was meant to be.
  • What will we learn at PLT tomorrow? I’m used to being able to predict outcomes…but not this time.
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