A Little About a Lot or a Lot About a Little?

Is it better to know a lot about a few things or a little bit about a lot of things? Or put another way; is it better to go a mile wide or an inch deep? I wonder how many leaders, especially over the last 11 months, have struggled with this? Ahh, so many questions when I start blogging again. 😀

I think to a degree, leaders have been expected to know (and rightly needed to know) about a lot of things as we’ve navigated this school year. As a leader, there have been times where I have thought, “Should I already know how to do this?” or “I should have known how to do that!”, but then I remember that everyone is doing a lot of learning this year and having a lot of “new” to navigate. It’s a good reminder to give each other, and ourselves, a lot of grace.

Personally, I think I’d rather dig in deep on a few things and feel confident on those versus knowing about a lot of things, but not knowing any one of them particularly well. This is how we should be framing it when we work with teachers. I’d rather help them feel really good about one or two things instead of opening the firehose to full power immediately to only have them feel overwhelmed. Build a good foundation of confidence with a little bit, then add to it gradually.

As long as we remain learners first and teachers second, we’ll all get better for ourselves, our colleagues, and our kids.

Encouraging Community

Hey Google, “Define community.”.

I feel like we are at a time in education where now more than ever, we need to be encouraging each other to find belonging in a professional community. We have communities within our neighborhoods, our places of worship, book clubs, sports teams, the list can go on and on.

How much are we not only encouraging but providing time for teachers, administrators, and other staff members to participate in a professional community to learn with? It doesn’t have to be leaving the district, although it’s great if you can; it might just be letting 4th-grade teachers from around the district get together, or social studies teachers, or librarians. I love it when my staff wants to go talk with other Network Administrators, System Administrators, PowerSchool administrators, etc. I always enjoy the time I get to go bounce ideas around with other technology directors.

Communities give us fresh ideas, fresh perspective, and that great feeling we all long for, a sense of belonging. It refreshes the soul and it helps us all be better in the work we do for kids.

Let Them Have Furniture

My team is very excited to be getting a completely new office space. I’m really excited too! It’s being finished as we speak and we will be in it by Spring. It’s a first for us; everything from getting to give input on the design, to most recently getting to give input on the types of furniture we’d like to have and how we’d like our space to function. I gathered up my team’s ideas and shared them with the appropriate people and expressed their interest in being part of the process. This past Friday we all got to have a “field trip” to our new space to not only see the progress, but each of us was asked our input on what we’d like to have in our individual spaces. It got all of us even more excited than we already were.

A key trait of leadership is knowing the needs of your team. Sometimes the needs are big, something they’re small. Sometimes the needs are tangible, sometimes the need is to be heard. No matter the size or type of need, hearing what those needs are is important. It’s listening to understand and not always listening to respond. It’s making sure voices are heard and understood, and following through on it. These are things that can have a lasting, positive impact on relationships, morale, and general enjoyment of the work we do.