November 9, 2009

Trying to Gain Insight

I have been doing some additional reading over the past month.  After having a staff meeting where I felt myself becoming upset with what felt like a lack of motivation from my staff to take on a little professional development in the form of a book read, I decided maybe I needed to brush up on controlling my emotions when dealing with setbacks.  I may have been judging myself harshly as I had no one tell me they noticed it or that they felt pressured but still I knew how I was feeling and it was time to do something about that.  After all, my wife is often telling me that I am a little too passionate about my job.  So I did a little research online and found a book that looked like a good resource for me and my problem.  When I went to the website, the company also had a quick quiz you could take to see how you rated yourself in certain leadership situations.  It opened my eyes to some things and made me be a little more reflective than I planned to that day.

The first book I found was called "Crucial Conversations" and after only a couple of chapters it has already given me some sage advice.  It has also provided me with strategies that I have already begun to implement with my staff.  I also ordered a set of Audio CD's of the book "Influencer."  Again loaded with some very good advice on how to use proven strategies to influence people to change habits and beliefs.  Don't by the books if you are looking for a step by step procedure for making everyone agree with you, or if you think it is written just for principals.  These were written with business leaders in mind for the most part, but the research and methods shared within are valuable to all, even parents.  What you have to remember is to take the concept and figure it if and how it could work for you.  They will also help you to believe that almost any challenge can be addressed and overcome if you just look for the right strategies to apply.

I decided to implement one of the strategies pretty promptly.  The idea was called motivational interviewing.  After thinking about it a little I considered it a chance for me to improve myself and address some building concerns.  Of course the idea is that by letting staff have a chance to air concerns, share what is working, discuss progress, where additional training or support may help and share areas for my improvement, then I have a better chance to gain insight into my staff's thoughts, views and perceptions.  I think I will also try to tabulate the results of the interviews and then share them with the whole staff.  Some may be surprised how the majority of staff responded.                                                            

The state test is finally over and now we are starting our first report cards.  While it had a few technological kinks along the way, the new report card system is going to be a fantastic addition to our elementary program and I have to give the credit to the teachers that worked so hard to come up with a unified system of how things should be reported. A common and more unified grading scale, similar templates.  It's just so much better it is hard to even compare.  Veterans Day is coming up, followed by Thanksgiving and then a quick run to Christmas (or Winter Break if you are looking for the PC term).  Time is flying by!

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