Let’s Stop Underestimating What Others Can Do

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“I have to hold their hands.” “They need constant supervision.” “They don’t think!” “They aren’t creative.” Have you heard leaders and managers pass these kinds of judgments on employee abilities?

Frequently, as I conduct employee focus groups or review 360 results, leaders who make these kinds of statements receive the following kinds of comments: “What a micromanager!” “Constant meetings and checklists and interference keep us from our work.” “We’re treated like children!”

“But I tried giving more autonomy and it was a disaster,” many leaders say. Frequently, they provided autonomy without clarity of goals or the benefit of wisdom learned from the past. There’s a happy medium of structure AND autonomy, a polarity that leads to results AND happy employees!

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3 Key Mindshifts for REALLY Leading Change

“Get the resisters on board–that’s why we’re bringing you in” is what I often hear from leaders when change processes aren’tBerlin ped signals.001 going smoothly. In most cases, though, a few simple yet profound changes in leadership attitudes and practices are what is really needed. Here are three mind shifts I’ve seen in effective leaders:

1. Instead of Leading, Think Leading and Listening

As a school leader I know stepped into a new principalship, he told the staff, “I’ll be spending this first year listening, watching and dialoguing with you to understand the strengths and needs of this particular community of learners.”

No one believed him.

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Are They Acting On Your Priorities?

DSC00328I recently heard of a school district with five hundred initiatives underway right now. They’re proud of it–they’re reaching out to students at risk for dropping out, targeting STEM enrichment, working on literacy, increasing coaching capacity, and so on.

The problem? No change effort can be focused in 500 different directions. Right now, things are falling by the wayside–and the district leadership probably doesn’t know what is and isn’t being done. Somewhere down in the ranks, people are deciding, whether consciously or unconsciously, what they will actually accomplish.

It may be what seems most urgent to them. Or what best fits their current skills. Or what is easiest. Or what the person above them is screaming for.

Chances are, though, it isn’t what the leaders at the top consider most important. Why?

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