Sunday, 13 October 2013

Week 7 – Promoting Critical Conversations #SAVMP

As a leader, it is imperative that you focus on the “best ideas”, not “your ideas”. Sometimes they can be the same thing, but if you have a group around you that only agrees and is worried about challenging ideas, we often make the wrong decisions for kids.

I am doing some catch-up here.  I should have responded to this question in #savmp a few weeks ago, but better late than never.

George asked us three questions to respond to for this post:


How do you create a culture where “pushback” is encouraged?
 How do you know when to stick with the minority over the majority?
 How do you create a team that will give you honest feedback?

These again, are huge questions for me.  I think one of the worst things that can happen to a principal is to be out of the loop.  I want to know how people are feeling about what is going on at the school.  I want to know if I am pushing too much, especially if I am pushing too much.

What I need to learn to do is to accept pushback from staff with grace.  I don't think I am there yet.  There are times when I get frustrated when I hear I am moving too fast or pushing too much on the staff.  I have to learn not to be upset - I have to learn to be more humble and realize that I work as a member of a dedicated team.  I am not Napoleon on his white charger.

In fact, when I get that way, I need the horse to send me flying back to the hard real ground.

I am entering my third year as a principal and I have been in administration for twelve years overall.  You would think that I would have learned that lesson by now.  I am certainly still working on this.

I need the staff at our school to feel comfortable enough to come into my office or speak up at meetings if they don't agree with the course I am following.  To be a really effective leader, I need to lose my ego - not an easy thing to do, but something I am now convinced is necessary if I aspire to be a good principal.

I think I know how to do pushback pretty well, I can stick with the minority over the majority - even if it is a minority of one.  The question I need to examine carefully is the last one - how do I create a team willing to give me honest feedback?

We should always be reflecting on our leadership style and how we serve the people in our educational community.  I know what I need to reflect on.

Thanks George!

1 comment:

  1. Paul,

    This is such a great posting. I appreciate your reminder about not pushing the faculty too quickly. This is probably the most discouraging thing I encounter as a leader because I literally feel like I am walking in slow motion. I truly have to slow down and take the pulse often of where the teachers are and I need to be happy with it. That is a difficult thing to learn.

    I appreciate your future guidance in this as we continue through #SAVMP.

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