If you're dealing with leadership transitions in your district, Miguel Guhlin has penned a pretty epic post. In it, he is blunt about the ups and downs of working with great leaders, and "hatchet men." IN the post, he also includes steps to making staff development actually work and his frustration to be asked to read books that no one else read or implemented. This is a great post and one that leaders should read (so they can be visionary) and staff and teachers should read (so they can find wisdom for making it through tough transitions.) Every transition is tough - I've been through several myself during my 12 years and even when the leader is a very good one, it is hard to do and endure because so many people take their "eye off the ball" and the ball is learning in the classroom. Drama in the front office should be kept at a minimum so classroom learning can be kept at a maximum.
As I read this article on leading up, I'm curious if this is encouraged in schools. Leading up is when a person exerts influence on leaders one or two levels above him or her. We need teachers who can lead up. Is it encouraged? I'm not so sure.
Great article by Larry Cuban on the Washington Post that you should forward to principals.
"Yet studies of principal behavior in schools makes clear that spending time in classrooms to observe, monitor, and evaluate classroom lessons do not necessarily lead to better teaching or higher student achievement on standardized tests. Where there is a correlation between principals’ influence on teachers and student performance, it occurs when principals create and sustain an academic ethos in the school, organize instruction across the school, and align school lessons to district standards and standardized test items. There is hardly any positive association between principals walking in and out of classrooms a half-dozen times a day and conferring briefly with teaches about those five-minute visits.The reality of daily principal actions conflicts with the theory."
Michael Hyatt has one of my favorite podcasts on Intentional leadership. This FANTASTIC podcast on leadership takes the weaknesses of General McLellan and talks about what makes a great leader... or not. This is a must listen for anyone in school leadership.
Nice post about the words we use.. I'm reading a book my friend Angela Maiers recommended about "Why" and this post relating to Dan Pink's book, Drive, relates to it as well.
A nice post from Bill Powers over on Edudemic
"Another point Mr. Pink made in regards to the WORDS we use is that many times organizations and people focus to much on How something will be completed when we should be focusing more on the WHY we are doing what we do.
I can’t think of a better way to explain our purpose and drive as educators. WE should focus on WHY are WE doing this. WHY are WE teaching this concept? WHY is this an important topic to teach OUR students? WHY do WE allow OUR students choice in producing and creating to show learning? WHY did a particular student act out? WHY do we include character education in what WE do? WHY – I could go on and on."
This superintendent is using Twitter as his PR tool as he tweets out a photo of new teachers at his school. You might want to look at how this is structured if you want to use this valuable, quick tool for sharing the news from your district.
Yes, we need great principals - I totally agree with George Corous in this excellent post. I couldn't live without my principal. He's overworked and likely underpaid but he is a good, honest man who cares about the kids and the teachers. He's not perfect (who is) but he's an incredible leader. I'm thankful to serve at the school with him. I'm so glad that George wrote this post, which I think will become a must read for principals.
Heidi Grant Halvorson does research on characteristicss of successful leaders. I read everything she writes. Here's a post on what 9 things successful people do differently that is great for those in leadership. Read and reread.
Such a beautiful and true blog post about what we need in education. How Seth Godin manages to capture the simplicity and complexity of the challenges before us is masterful. Education has plenty of words, what we lack is leadership.
"The paradox is that the simplicity we often seek in search of solutions rarely leads to the patient leadership we need to get them."
It is so hard to admit you are wrong. There are those who never admit it and I steer clear of them. Then, there are those who do. Others just blame everyone else. Seth says it well:
"Two elements of successful leadership: a willingness to be wrong and an eagerness to admit it."
Eagerness would be hard for most people because it means we screw up and we're afraid others will point it out more often, but it is something we must be willing to do.
But the excuses and lead is a great post for administrators to read. Spawned as he watched excuse after excuse scroll past his Twitterfall from a Twitterchat, this excellent post is worth a read. Further proof that when we connect, we put our finger on the pulse of changed and have the conversations that need to happen. Read and respond. Great job, Dave!
Angela Maiers' preconference keynote: The Sandbox Manifesto
I wish every leader who runs any meeting would read this post about how to start a meeting on time. It isn't that hard to start meetings on time but it does require STARTING ON TIME. Even when people are late. Please read and apply, as a former manager myself - these tricks work.
Steve Jobs' obituary on wired news. He died too young but lived while he lived. May innovation at Apple not die with him. I think this makes us all sad because so much of innovation in the last years have been tied up with his leadership and vision that it is hard to imagine a world without him. I think it is harder to imagine imagination without him. Do we have the creativity in us to come up with things no one has thought of and improve millions of lives?
This well written post should be a must read for every principal, administrator, or teacher that wants to lead in their school and classroom. arrogance can keep us from our best. we see it in Washington, let's not see it in the classroom. excellent read! I highly recommend it.
Excellent post on leadership from Shannon in Ottowa. She says
"When I was learning how to ride my motorbike, the instructor reminded us over and over to keep our eyes on the road where we want to go. Allowing our gaze to stray and linger on oncoming traffic or the ditch will lead to disaster: You drift towards your focus. To avoid an accident, keep your eyes on the road ahead."
Great post for those in leadership or in schools.
Excellent article on leadership and change over on the faith and leadership blog. It is really about change and anyone would benefit from reading this article. Here is the comment I left:
"This is an excellent article which I'll share on my own blog. I particularly like this incredible statement and wish the person would allow their name to be printed (but I could understand why they would not.) It is one of the best statements of the fear of innovation that I've heard.
"“If I do nothing then I am not creating the opportunity to be judged, for people to say I made a mistake. The consequences for people who make transformative changes can be huge . . . if there is a flicker of a sense of failure, then they will crash, they will be pushed out, condemned. They will lose . . . their job, stature, respect.”"
WOW! Do nothing - no judgment. Do something risk failing - but you also risk succeeding!
To me there is a greater risk here, that of doing nothing - fading into the woodwork. No legacy.
We'd be sitting in the dark because Edison would have quit inventing the light bulb.
If we fail it will be not because we did not try and not because we did not even allow the birth of the thought to happen in our words."
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