Have you noticed there’s a Women in Education: Leading Perspectives Institute in July? In San Antonio? Are you thinking, "Why an event just for women? Isn’t ‘cross-pollination’ among genders a better way to improve the lives of children?” If you’re…
I've been using the new Brain Energy/Bandwidth quiz that I created with Ann Holm with teams and individuals, during workshops and coaching sessions, while networking over coffee--in other words, every chance I get. Just click on the quiz name to try the basic version yourself.…
As you arrive at the leadership meeting, a sick feeling starts to grow—again, the seats are arranged in a circle around a solitary chair. One of your colleagues is about to be bullied. Time seems frozen as the unlucky victim…
How do your strengths get in the way of coaching and mentoring those around you? Leaders who easily see the best course of action in complex situations may “tell” rather than giving an employee enough time to reason it through…
I 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?
Another way to put this is that leaders far too frequently bite off more than they, or those they lead, can chew. Lack of priorities can take several forms, such as:
- Overwhelming their staffs with competing initiatives
- Leading projects with “scope creep” that end up devouring time and resources way beyond what was anticipated, funded or staffed
- Asking others to “do more with less” until, inevitably, human capacity is truly overwhelmed.
Goals are often tangible—profits, products, student learning targets, or implementation of strategies. Priorities are things such as professional development, staff relationships, accountability, autonomy, consistency in policy, and so on. And we can only concentrate on so many of them. Not setting priorities is similar to playing poker–you won’t have as much control as you like over the cards you’re dealt.
When I coach for intentional leadership, I start by asking leaders to sort their priorities. We then map those priorities onto essential tasks of leadership and compare the patterns to the leader’s natural strengths and equally natural blind spots. Are they focused on the right priorities for the situation, including their current goals?
Now there are three ways to sort your intentional leadership priorities:
- Use the exercise provided in the book (included in the first chapter, part of the amazon.com free downoad)
- Work with an Intentional Leadership Coach
- Use the Leadership Priority Cards–hot off the press and available through me. When you use these cards, though, you’ll be able to choose your ideal hand–and move toward your goals.
Why the cards? All learning styles benefit from the tactile use of cards. As a coach, you can observe