Leading Through Learning
As I’m looking over my first two blog posts, I realize the purpose for this blog is not clear. So to clarify, this blog will serve as my time for reflection. As I use writing all during the week as a way to refocus, clarify and gather my thoughts, these entries will help me determine my focus in this blog. Sometimes these writings will connect with one another; and, at other times, they will be responses to challenges I face, I hope to grow within this experience. Reflection is the goal. If I am going to continue to lead others, then, I have to continue to learn. If I’m going to learn about the ways I lead, and how others lead, I need to read, write, and listen.
Last week my intention was to focus on gratitude and energy. I can see how my deliberate choice of being positive and thankful impacted my week-from handing out a number of PBIS??? tickets, to writing a few thank you cards, to an opportunity to share my “why” with student leaders, I made a conscious effort to seek joy daily. And it is the little things- like walking out of my office and seeing a group of teachers talking around the copy machine. Choice: go join them and build those relationships, or continue down the hallway to see students. Either could be justified; and, both could be beneficial. But the group of teachers were speaking quietly, and the bell had just rung. One of my goals was to be more available to students. So, I decided that it would bring me more joy to continue down the hallway. This choice allowed me to see a student who had been upset the previous day. I was able to connect with him and follow up – something I had planned to do anyway but this way was more natural, and therefore, more joyful.
Another theme throughout my week was recognizing how often I was called upon to rely on my intuition. As a school leader, I often serve as a mediator. Whenever faculty, students, or parents have an unsolvable problem, they bring it to me for direction and for a solution. I know this is part of my role. And, I understand that, while many times I don’t have an answer, the answer is often not what they need. What they need is someone to bring further clarity or a different perspective. And many times their challenge is surrounded by their own strong emotions.
I try to handle these conversations by using the principle of wisdom. I believe wisdom is the ability to make the right decision at the right time. When I am clear on how to proceed when no clear path is evident, that is directly related to intuition and connection to my inner voice. As I grow older, I have learned that I cannot be used as merely a dumping ground for the challenges and emotions of other people. When I find myself dreading to meet certain individuals, it is a signal that I have allowed myself to be used in ways that are unproductive to everyone. Setting these boundaries at the beginnings of meetings gets easier as I listen to my own intuition. Wisdom allows boundaries to be built in a loving, yet clear, way.
Intuition is an interesting thing, too. When I’m distracted, overwhelmed or stressed, I feel that my intuition is weak. That is why decisions made in those moments are usually hasty and eventually become mistakes. Sometimes my most difficult challenge is simply recognizing the need to wait.
My learning this week involved listening to others. It involved my moving toward joy and recognizing the thoughts that take me away from that joy. My leading this week began with recognizing student needs, trusting my intuition, even when the decision resulted in some disagreement, and knowing that next week will hold entirely new opportunities to learn and lead.
Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading. I hope your week is full of joy and learning.