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Carry Your Weather

communication meetings Jan 17, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson

 

Have you ever noticed how some people seem to brighten and warm-up every room they enter?

Like a weather front moving in, everyone feels a change as soon as that person enters the conversation.

Carry Your Weather

We all carry our own weather.

When you carry your weather with you, you can choose to be consistent, regardless how people treat you.  (Dr. Stephen R. Covey)

Certainly, carrying good weather comes easier to some than others, but whether we are greeting a visitor at the front desk, leading a meeting, or listening to someone else lead, we have the ability to be a room brightener. 

Regardless of today's forecast, we always have a choice.

And maintaining a positive mindset is always easier than regaining a positive mindset, but sometimes we have to dig a little deeper to model what we'd love to see in others. 

Assume a cheerfulness you do not feel, and shortly you feel the cheerfulness you assumed. (Chinese...

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We Don't Have to be Nutella

communication courageous Jan 10, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson

 

Do you find yourself saying yes to helping people when deep down you know you should say no?

Taking care of others isn't just something remarkable leaders like doing; it's in their DNA.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. (Mahatma Gandhi)

We're wired to say yes as individuals and it's natural that we want a culture where everyone is eager to support one another.

We Don't Have to Be Nutella

It can be really difficult to say no.

We can still lose ourselves in the service of others by saying no to those few who go beyond our values or what we've determined as key priorities.

A gracious decline isn't a rejection of the person. It's a recognition that you don't have the energy for this right now. (Adam Grant)

Whether real-life or social media, chasing likes can only be exhausting.

And shouldn't leaders make decisions based upon principles and not preferences?

We don’t have to be ...

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Make it Easy for Them to Hire You

communication impact tips Dec 20, 2021

by Aubrey Patterson

 

Are you updating a cover letter and resume for an upcoming dream position?

Most applications are now requested and submitted online. Seems easy enough.

Here's a tip to avoid one of the biggest mistakes you might make when applying for this dream position.

Make it easy for them to hire you.

Have you ever printed a number of similar-looking items and had to put them in the proper order? Perhaps it was a year of utility bills for taxes or a pile of medical receipts that needed to be itemized for reimbursement? Think about the time and care it took you to get them in their proper order.

Now consider how little time an admin assistant or secretary has when printing attachments received in an application package.

How will your hard work be ordered and represented in the short-listing meeting?

What package will be sitting in front of the members of the interview committee if you get to that final step in the hiring process?

A Simple Solution

Email is a common...

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Leading with Gratitude

by Aubrey Patterson

 

Early in life, most of us are taught to count our blessings, but this lesson all too often fails to become a habit. When calamity knocks on our door, many of us are not accustomed to acknowledging the good that still surrounds us.

We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count. (Neal A. Maxwell)

Luckily, gratitude is a muscle we can exercise.

Leading with Gratitude

Gratitude and optimism work hand in glove; we can learn to be thankful for the past and present while hoping for something better in the future.

But gratitude and optimism are not equally effective as strategies.

Leading with gratitude increases the likelihood that we inspire thoughtful conversations and compelling action. While optimism is critical to goal-setting and wonderful for visioning, gratitude has a better chance of surfacing our exciting next steps.

Gratitude is one of the few things in life that simply cannot be overdone.

People feel and express...

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What is Your Team Saying to Those Closest to Them?

by Melody Stacy

 

What do conversations at holiday family gatherings have to do with our school cultures? And how do they inform us as leaders?

Imagine any number of these exchanges. What do you hear?

Adoration of the youngest, questions about the health of the oldest, updates on recent relationships, and hobbies are sure to be on the greatest hits.

And inevitably comes the question, "So how is your work going?"

Full stop.

Because the answer that follows matters. And it matters a great deal to those of us leading.

What your team is saying to those closest to them is the true test of your culture.

You might be thinking, "But I'm not at those events. How do I know what they're saying?"

If we listen closely, we'll hear.

Are our team members saying things like this?

Gosh, my work is difficult, but my team is energetic and supportive. And I love working alongside them!

 My principal sure does expect a lot, but you know what? I feel valued and I know she believes in me?

 ...

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Clarity and a Kind Voice

by Aubrey Patterson

 

Of course, the scenario you're about to read is all too familiar, but are you fortunate enough to know someone who leads like Carla?

Like a Duck

The day is just beginning and the telephones are lighting up.

Line 1: A teacher is calling in sick.

Line 2: An angry parent.

A whimper and crying eyes staring up: A little one is seeking an ice pack.

A tap on the shoulder: The new teacher asking where to find a student’s file.

This would be an awfully eventful two minutes for most.

Carla politely puts the teacher on hold and pages the assistant principal; she then offers a kind greeting and exquisite manners to a slightly confused and well-meaning mom; gives a hug and an ice pack to poor little Michael (while offering a silent thank you to her principal for the phone headset); and gives wide-eyes and a smile while mouthing, “just a sec” to the teacher waiting for that file.

With every action and word, Carla communicates compassion,...

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A More Thoughtful Yes or No

by Aubrey Patterson

 

Have you noticed how it's become very popular in social media to encourage us to say "no" to anything new?

Build and fortify boundaries. Guard them fiercely with a no.

We all get this. None of us are tone deaf to the emotions that accompany the uncertainty and fears in recent times.

And truth be told, we proudly subscribe to the hell yeah or no! framework of Derek Sivers. We also coach leaders using the cliché if you never say "no", what's the value of your yes?"

No rarely does harm.

No offers a measure of control to a day that seems increasingly out of control.

However, this emphasis on the power of no makes it more likely that our skepticism or fatigue will cloud new opportunities.

It's becoming far too easy to stop listening to that inner voice that might otherwise be attuned to a propitious idea.

When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare. (John Wooden)

Every opportunity comes with challenges. And those challenges are...

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A How to Match Our Why

by Aubrey Patterson

 

Jerry walked into the new principal's office and nonchalantly offered a leadership gem that would reframe every future conversation in the school about mission, vision, and values.

He shared a huge smile and opened with a simple, "I'm Jerry."

The new principal returned the smile, introduced himself, and asked awkwardly, “I’m sorry, Jerry, but what do you do?”

Jerry's face brightened even more. “I help the kids learn by keeping things clean around here and making sure everyone can safely get around."

A how to match our why.

How many adults in our schools could finish this stem?

I help kids learn by ____.

Perhaps we want to include part of our current mission statement and let each adult complete a sentence that ties them to the why of the school or district?

I help kids learn and become an exceptional citizen in a vibrant school by _____.

Shouldn’t everyone working in education be able to easily complete these statements?

...
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It’s complicated … or is it?

by Melody Stacy

 

Are you ready for a pop quiz?

No?

Good. It wouldn’t be a pop quiz if you were.

Ready or not, here we go ...

  1. As school leaders, should we love our staff or have high expectations for them?
  2. Should we be the confident leaders in our school or should we have empowered teachers?
  3. As a team, should we celebrate our accomplishments or succumb to a sense of urgency to improve?
  4. Should we approach our work tightly aligned to our vision and goals or give loose autonomy for people be themselves?

Did you have a hard time choosing?

Good. That's the point.

As leaders, we are faced with countless decisions bringing infinite implications every day. Many of those decisions seem very complex and often seem to force a choice between contradictory options.

The most important aspects of our work don't fit into nice, neat checkboxes.

What if embracing the paradox could bring about freedom and clarity while helping us pursue greatness?

When we are comfortable mired in...

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Meeting Déjà Vu: We Talked About This Last Year, Right?

by Aubrey Patterson

 

The Faculty Meeting: Meritocracy vs Efficiency

Here’s a scenario that many will recognize ... 

It's 4:23 PM. Seven minutes before the faculty meeting is scheduled to end.

The agenda item is very familiar to the veterans in the faculty meeting who had lived it many times before: End of Year BBQ.

Everyone is confident it will take only a few minutes to sign up for tasks and get out with a few minutes to spare.

Mike

But Mike is new. He innocently and cautiously puts the efficiency of this well-worn item in peril, wondering aloud about the Start of the Year BBQ that would follow in a couple months.

Just a question and I know I am new here, but given we do the same kind of event to start and end the year--which I’m totally good with, it’s so cool--um, could we prepare the set-up of the non-food materials once for both events? We could even purchase the food in the spring for both June and August. It might save us a lot of work in...

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