2011

From the Principal's Pen

“Are You Indispensable?” Hint, Hint… Please Say, “No!”

From the Principal's Pen

“Hope you’re feeling better! Things here are going well today.”. That was in an e-mail from one of my teachers this afternoon – I was ill today and had stayed at home. So it takes my being ill for things to go well, huh?” was the first thing I thought, grinning at my own joke!

Be a Compass… Be an Anchor…

From the Principal's Pen

Eight years ago, I picked up the phone to hear a superintendent offer me my first job as a principal. I was absolutely elated! This was what I’d been waiting for. Within minutes after I put the phone down, I was hit with the realization of the responsibility that came with the job.

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Get Ready… Get Set… Recharge Your Batteries!

From the Principal's Pen

It happens to everyone at some point… what I call ‘the gerbil in the wheel syndrome’ You run and run, you spin and spin, and despite feeling you’ve traveled far, you’re right back where you started! That’s how I would define the last few days. A lot has happened, I’ve accomplished many things (yes, that task list is smaller), and yet, it feels like I’m back where I started and have miles to go.

Lead with Joy and Humor!

From the Principal's Pen

Last week, after a year and a half, I saw my parents on a visit to India. Minutes after my dad showed up, he was ready to share his latest joke — or Kadi as those who speak Tamil call it. I’m not quite sure how to describe a Kadi but I’ll take a shot at it (with apologies to those who may disagree).

“Whenever You Fall, Pick Something Up.” – Oswald Avery

From the Principal's Pen

I’ve learned over time that the one thing I can be sure of is that challenges are right around the corner from good times. We face little and big challenges every day in our work. As a leader do you sometimes feel like you’re standing in front of a baseball pitching machine? You hit one ball and have to immediately get ready to face the next one flying your way. On some days do you feel like you’re inside that screen saver with the stars coming at you?

Here’s to New Beginnings!

From the Principal's Pen

This is my favorite time of the year as an educator – a time to start anew. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve said this to dozens of people who asked if I was ready for the new school year, and it seemed to be the perfect topic to reflect on and end the vacation when I started this blog (I can’t believe it… yes, it’s been two months since I started this blog)! Summer vacation is coming to an end.

A Dollar on Behalf of Truckers…

From the Principal's Pen

I just returned from a seven hour road trip yesterday. During the drive, I noticed something I’ve seen for a couple of years now, but this time, I said, “Ah! I should add this to my blog!&# And the topic? Courtesy. For all the road rage and other annoyances we complain about, there are moments of courtesy on the highway. Some things bug me! I’d love to have a sign in the back of my car that lights up the words “Back-off!&#

STEP What?

From the Principal's Pen

One for my memoirs… We were minutes away from the school bell ringing when a substitute teacher called and said she was running a few minutes late. Rather than pull someone else in for that brief period, I decided to welcome the students and stay in the kindergarten classroom until the substitute arrived. As the kids walked in, some of them seemed surprised to see the principal in their classroom but responded to my greeting with big smiles.

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“And when we think we lead, we are most led.” —Lord Byron

From the Principal's Pen

One of the hardest questions to answer is, “What is the most important aspect of my role?&# It doesn’t matter what our professions might be – it is easier to create a list of things we believe our roles entail, rather than define what our most important charge is. A leadership role is complicated.

It’s Hiring Time!

From the Principal's Pen

It’s summer time and principals are getting ready to fulfill one of their most important tasks – hiring teachers for their teams. There is something exciting about this process. It is as much a time to reflect on who we are, what we stand for and what we want to accomplish as it is about adding a new team member.

For an Organization… With People…

From the Principal's Pen

When people mention anything about working ‘for’ me, I quickly correct them saying they work ‘with’ me. This is not just some politically correct line in my book – it holds deeper meaning for me. People who know me, recognize that I hold strong opinions on different issues. I tend to speak my mind, and I’ve always been conscious about doing it respectfully and honestly, choosing my words carefully, and not making things personal.

Being in Sync with One’s Life

From the Principal's Pen

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.&# — Thomas Merton. This must be one of those BIG lessons I have to learn. Some time ago, seeing me surrounded by piles of work on a weekend, my husband asked, “When are you planning to catch up?&# Great question! I’ve never given it a right or definite answer because it seems like I’ve been playing catch up for a long time.

Ideas EVOLVE…

From the Principal's Pen

‘Change’ is an interesting concept. We discuss it a lot in terms of our work as school leaders, and experience it in many forms. People have different reactions to change – some embrace it, some are indifferent to it, and others may dislike it quite strongly. Schools experience change in so many ways – changes in leadership, instructional practices, initiatives – first order or second order change.

“It’s not a better way, it’s a different way.” – Dr. Raymond Terrell

From the Principal's Pen

I remember standing outside Churchgate Station in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, waiting to meet a friend. It was 1986. I had just graduated from college and was beginning my training in special education. I was new to Bombay – a BIG city teeming with life. Perhaps being on my own for the first time made the city seem bigger, but maybe not! I stood opposite Churchgate, facing it and watching a sea of human beings cross the road.

Unbound from here on…

From the Principal's Pen

It is quite possible that the title of this post may mean more to me than some might understand but I truly feel free! As a child growing up in India, I remember copying quotes from the Reader’s Digest into a small diary. Now I type them into a document and pull them out to use in my work and reflections. They cheer me up and inspire me. I use quotes a lot in my weekly communication to my team, in newsletters, etc. and I always have fun finding just the right one that fits.

Shared Leadership – a worthy road to travel!

From the Principal's Pen

About a decade ago, I decided to switch gears from being a special education teacher to becoming a school principal. I looked for programs within travelling distance from my home and learned about the Educational Leadership program at Miami University. It was interesting because they were not ready to let me take a few courses and get a license. They emphasized getting a Master’s Degree in this field and then taking several more credits to get a principal’s license.

What’s written in stone… setting the tone!

From the Principal's Pen

Several years ago, as I sat in one of my first courses in Ed. Leadership at Miami University, a graduate of the program who had just got his first leadership job came to our class to speak to our cohort. This young principal said many things, but one comment caught my attention, and has stayed with me since then. He talked about bringing a positive attitude to work everyday. He said that whenever anyone asked him how his day was, he always said it was great!

3 R’s +

From the Principal's Pen

In 2003 when I started my first job as an elementary principal I shared my 3 R’s – Relationships, Respect and Responsibility – with my school community. I’ve always believed that strong schools are built on a foundation of respectful relationships, where individuals take responsibility for their actions. Focusing on these three R’s consistently has been a key theme of my work. Over time, interestingly enough, others have started noticing and acknowledging them.

Dear Amber,

From the Principal's Pen

My career has been wonderful, with much to be joyful about. Yet, as with all things, sometimes it feels like a bumpy bus ride on a highway pock-marked with pot-holes. If you’ve experienced the recent icy winter we’ve just left behind, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You think things are going well, and then… WHAM!

Leadership & Influence

N2Growth Blog

By Mike Myatt , Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth. You cannot be a effective leader without influence. Let me make this as simple as I can – if you’re a leader, influence needs to be a competency.

Innovation Creates Uncertainty

Leading Blog

We don’t like uncertainty. It’s not comfortable. We want innovation. We like creativity. It’s engaging. But innovation creates uncertainty. So while we say we want creativity and innovation we often reject it because it is new, different and risky.

The Top 10 Things Leaders Should Hear From Their Teammates

Terry Starbucker

All leaders need to get good and consistent verbal feedback from their teammates, but there are what I consider to be the “Golden 10″ pieces of feedback that we really need to be getting to ratify our effectiveness (and our approach to greatness).

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Leading with Character by Leading from Within

C-Level Strategies

There is no escaping the fact that when we show up for work and for our leadership roles, we bring the entirety of ourselves to the table.

7 Random Pieces of Advice for the Younger Leader

Ron Edmondson

I love working with younger leaders. It keeps me young and it helps to know I’m investing in something and someone who will likely last beyond my lifetime. I want to share some things I’ve learned from experience. Some of it hard experiences.

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The Introvert’s Guide to Getting Noticed in Business

C-Level Strategies

If there is one area where I think extraverts actually do have a leg-up on introverts in business it’s this: they are much more comfortable being visible and attracting attention.

12 Killers of Good Leadership

Ron Edmondson

3 Ways to Be a Positive Leader

Leading Blog

This is a guest post by best-selling author and speaker, Jon Gordon about the value of developing positive relationships with the people you lead.

Top 5 Signs Of A Toxic Culture

The Leadership Advisor

If you saw green glowing ooze with a nasty vapor rising from it, how close would you get? You wouldn’t find me within a thousand feet of it, depending on the direction of the wind. I think most folks would feel the same way.

10 Secrets of Many Senior Pastors

Ron Edmondson

I get to hang out and know many senior pastors. I have a great heart for them and understand, firsthand, some of the pressures, frustrations and joys, which are unique to the role of a senior pastor.

10 Essential Steps To Leadership Excellence

Terry Starbucker

Every successful leader gets this question posed to them at one time or another: “How did you do it?”

7 Actions While Waiting on God

Ron Edmondson

My Hardest Advice for Young Leaders

Ron Edmondson

Recently I wrote a post entitled “ 7 Random Pieces of Advice for Younger Leaders “ It’s received a fair amount of positive attention, so I thought I should share one more…at least for now. It’s actually the hardest piece of advice I have for this generation of young leaders.

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How to Discover Your True Path in Life

C-Level Strategies

We were all moved, and many of us shaken, by the loss of Steve Jobs last week. He inspired us with his vision, his passion for his work and his creative genius. We cheered him when he battled back from being fired at Apple.

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19 Revealing CEO Leadership Quotes

C-Level Strategies

Yesterday I shared with you 10 Insightful Social Media Quotes from Smart CEOs , which were reflective of the social media conversation that we had at our most recent CEO Connection event in New York City.

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Keeping It Simple

N2Growth Blog

By Mike Myatt , Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth. One of the most effective ways to order your world is to simplify everything you encounter. However the problem is that keeping it simple often becomes very difficult when our basic human nature is to over-complicate everything we touch.

Leading Gen Y: the Secrets Every Leader Must Learn

C-Level Strategies

I am extremely fortunate to be able to call Greg Hartle a friend. I met him on Twitter when he began participating in Leadership Chat , sharing genuinely insightful tidbits of wisdom in 140 characters; wisdom that seemed beyond his years.

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10 little Things That Will Make a BIG Difference In Your Leadership

Terry Starbucker

“To be really great in the little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization” – Harriet Beecher Stowe. There are leaders, and then there are LEADERS.

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A Secret Your Husband Keeps…But Needs You to Know

Ron Edmondson

Ladies, here’s a secret your husband probably won’t share…. He needs your unconditional respect…in fact…he needs you to be his biggest fan…. Your support feeds his God-given ego….

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7 Signs of a Dysfunctional Team

Ron Edmondson

Chances are, if you’ve served on very many teams, that you’ve served on one that is dysfunctional. It appears to me that we have many to choose from in the organizational world.

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Good Leaders Will Always Frustrate You

Ron Edmondson

This is a guest post from Jeff Goins. Jeff is a writer, speaker, and blogger. Jeff has also become a friend and I’ve enjoyed the times to hang out with him. He’s a sharp young mind you should get to know. You can find him on Twitter (@jeffgoins) or on Facebook.

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