Monday, May 30, 2011

Are you Talking to Me?

If there is one trait that sets apart good leaders from great, it is the ability to listen. Here's how Liz Wiseman describes that trait.
Liberators are more than just good listeners. They are ferocious listeners. They listen to feed their hunger for knowledge. They listen to learn what other people know and add it to their reservoir of knowledge.
This type of listening is possible only if you th ink others have ideas worth thinking about. The Tyrant believes he has all the answers and is rarely ready to hear, acknowledge, and implement an idea that doesn't come from his own head.

Your Best Work

They (liberators) appear to hold two ostensibly opposing positions with equal fervor. They create both comfort and pressure in the environment,. In the eyes of the Liberator, it is a just exchange: I give you space; you give me back your best work.
-Liz Wiseman in Multipliers


Many of our district administrators have just read the book Multipliers by Liz Wiseman. I'll be posting several quotes and my comments from the book here. It was a great reminder of the power we have to make others more effective, productive, and satisfied in the workplace and at home.

Let's begin with one of the qualities of the "Liberator" as opposed to The "Tyrant".
Tyrants create a tense environment-one that is full of stress and anxiety. Liberators like Robert create an intense environment that requires concentration, diligence, and energy. It is an environment where people are encouraged to think for themselves but also where people experience a deep obligation to do their best work.
So many leaders act as if their colleagues will slack off and do nothing if they are not in their face demanding and directing their every move. My favorite Principal was Dr. Bob Bane who got out of my way and set a vision for our school. I desperately wanted to produce quality results in everything I did because of his respectful and challenging leadership.

Monday, May 09, 2011

The dirty words "Test Prep"

I've been training for a 1/2 Marathon for this June and as the race date quickly approaches I've been thinking of the parallels of our students getting ready for the annual end-of-the-year assessments. Here are some parallels that would help our students approach the testing with confidence and peace of mind.

  1. The day of the race should be a day of celebration because of all of the training that has been put in preparing for the big day.
  2. Gradual improvement day after day will result in substantial growth over the course of a year.
  3. Pep rallies and slogans are not nearly as effective as disciplined practice and engaged learning every day.
  4. Your results on the assessment will be a direct result of the efforts that you expanded during the course of the year (training period) and not the tricks you learned for race day.

Our most productive endeavor is planning the daily instructional routines that will build our students knowledge and skills over the course of a year to give them the confidence to step up to that starting line on test day with confidence and enthusiasm to show what they have learned.