Wow!!! Now that is a challenge!
Have you noticed how addictive email is? Many leaders in schools check their email first thing in the morning and use that as a basis for attempting to plan their day. We then continue to check our email throughout the day and either attend to the emerging issues or (if we are good!) reprioritise. If we don’t do this we worry that we will miss something that is urgent or important. However this creates an unrealistic urgency and stress on our days. It can also lead to us ‘filling’ a day without ever having attended to our previous priorities.
Julie Morgenstern’s work management book Never Check Email in the Morning suggests a radical approach to increase our effectiveness. Instead of checking email first thing in the morning, she recommends tackling a specific, important task.
Morgenstern’s advice could be combined with a tip from Brian Tracy’s classic time-management book, Eat that Frog. Tracy recommends doing your worst task first thing in the morning. He recommends tackling your most important task, the one that you are likely to procrastinate over. By doing that task FIRST and getting it out of the way before the rest of the day get’s hijacked – you achieve a sense of satisfaction and have made progress. The term Eat That Frog apparently comes from Mark Twain, who famously said that if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you. Your frog is your worst task.
First thing in the morning your mind is clear, the office is quiet and you haven’t been pulled in six different directions- yet. It’s your one opportunity to prioritise the thing that matters to you most, before your phone starts ringing and email inbox starts dinging. By knocking out something important on your to-do list before anything else, you get both momentum and a sense of accomplishment, right from the beginning of the day.
Ideally you should set yourself up to eat tomorrow’s frog last thing before you leave the office the previous day. Choose your frog, write it down at the top of your list for the following morning. If you can, gather together the materials you’ll need to get it done and have that out, too.
However you need to have the self-discipline to Eat THAT Frog BEFORE you open your email in the morning. Make it a habit – you’ll be amazed and what you can achieve as well as a great sense of satisfaction.
Read more about Eat That Frog
New Happy School Website
Technology is great…when it works!!!
We are excited (and at the same time daunted!) to advise that we have upgraded the Happy School website. The NEW website will become live in the next 10 days. The new website is designed to provide even better access for our Happy School members. The Members’ only area will provide even better access to past Happy School articles in a searchable database as well as recordings of the Happy School webinars, designed especially for leaders in schools.
The new site will also have information on the NEW Happy School Surveys. The surveys for staff, parents and students are interactive. Where concerns are expressed the survey asks the respondent follow up questions to seek further information and clarification. This ensures that school leaders are data informed and not just data ‘swamped’. The surveys not only provide data about satisfaction they provide specific actions that the school leaders can undertake to address the concerns raised. Visit the new Happy School website for further information.
Please be patient as we work through any technical issues that invariably will arise as we roll out the new site.
“Everyone’s a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.” Albert Einstein
Eleven Attributes of Leadership
In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill identifies Eleven Major Attributes of Leadership. As with all ideals, you might find yourself lacking in some of these leadership attributes but, as we often say, Leadership can be learned – daily, not in a day.
If you have the desire to be a great leader, you can practise the Eleven Major Attributes of Leadership and improve not only your own life, but the lives of those you lead.
1. Unwavering Courage
Sometimes tough decisions have to be made and it takes courage to make them. It takes courage to follow through on those decisions. It takes courage to have difficult conversations. It takes courage to set goals and to commit to the actions necessary to achieve them. It takes courage to address poor performers.
2. Self Control
People who cannot control themselves can never hope to control others. Self Control is discipline. Most people lack discipline in some areas of their life. These are the areas that are most often out of control.
3. A Keen Sense of Justice
Successful leaders make a commitment to doing what is right. This commitment extends at all times, no matter how hard that may be.
4. Definiteness of Decision
This is a person who makes a decision and sticks with it. People who waver in decisions show that they are unsure of themselves. People will not follow such leaders for long.
5. Definiteness of Plans
A person who plans his or her work and works those plans. Leaders who use guesswork without practical, definite plans are like a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later they will hit the rocks.
6. The Habit of Doing More Than Paid
Great leaders exceed expectations. They do much more than they are paid for and are a great role model for others. However you do NOT have to be a workaholic! Great leaders also know the difference between ‘important’ and ‘urgent’ and allocate their time accordingly. Leaders get paid for what their people do, not what they do!
7. A Pleasing Personality
Slovenly people don’t become successful leaders. Leadership calls for respect. Followers will not respect a leader that does not demonstrate all the factors of a pleasing personality.
8. Sympathy and Understanding
The successful leader must be in sympathy with his or her followers. Leaders must understand their followers and their problems. Connection is essential.
9. Mastery of Detail
Mind the details. Small things matter. Parents notice the school sign that is out of date, spelling errors in newsletters and phone calls not returned.
10. Willingness to Assume Full Responsibility
The successful leader must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and shortcomings of his or her followers. Leaders who attempt to shift this responsibility lose credibility. If a follower shows himself to be incompetent, the leader must consider this a personal failure if they fail to take action to address the incompetence.
The successful leader must understand and apply the principle of co-operative effort and be able to induce his or her followers to do the same. Leadership calls for power, and power calls for co-operation.
If you haven’t read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, I’d recommend it. It contains some great lessons for leaders to reflect on.
5 Things to Consider Before Becoming and Instructional Coach
In the United States “Instructional Coaches” have been used to support teacher development. However the skills required to be an effective Instructional Coach differ from those of being a good teacher.
- You’ve got to enjoy working with adults.
- You’ve got to be aware of and enjoy the particular challenges of working with adults
- You have to have an understanding of how adults learn
- Coaching is NOT easier than teaching
- Coaching can be very rewarding (as well as very lonely)
If you’d like to read more check out this article.
Happy School Staff articles this month include…
- Is Stress a Necessary Evil?
- Life Fearlessly by Amanda Gore
- Idiot Theory by Bruce Sullivan
- Putting Heart and Fun by Amanda Gore
- Beware That Little Voice Inside Your Head!
Professional development sessions for your staff are available on a range of topics ideal for student free day’s or after school sessions. Email to check availability of your preferred date.
Which topic does your team need most?
Increasing WORK-LIFE Satisfaction
Working in schools can be challenging. A happy staff achieves better results. It is vital that staff in schools get satisfaction from the important work we do. Thinking of our happiness in terms of ‘balance’ leads us to think that we have to ‘balance out’ the time or energy that we spend at work with the time and energy we put into the rest of our lives. This adds to our stress! We need to get satisfaction from both our work and the rest of our lives. It is essential that we focus on what is REALLY important in our lives. This IS your REAL life – it isn’t a dress rehearsal.
Building Trust – Essential Skills
Trust is at the heart of all relationships. Trust impacts on us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It impacts on the quality of every relationship, every communication, every workplace and every organisation. Building Trust is vital! Stephen Covey’s 13 behaviours that build trust are simple, straight forward and immediately transferable to schools. They apply at all levels. Having good intentions is not enough. It is behaviour that counts!
The one constant in the world today is change! Ultimately our response to change is dependent on our attitude AND we CHOOSE our attitude.Our people need to be positive, optimistic and energetic. In this session I’ll help staff in schools to develop the right attitude. I identify the three biggest obstacles to successful change and the specific strategies needed to overcome these challenges. A positive attitude is essential to success.
Gr8 People are Part of Gr8 Teams
There are 10 vital attributes that are necessary in all teams within schools. For a team to reach their potential each individual needs to make their contribution and that contribution needs to be aligned with the school’s direction and priorities. The better that people work together and are aligned, the better outcomes the school will achieve.
Which of the attributes do your teams do well and which ones need to be improved? Establishing clear and agreed priorities, in simple language is essential.
Feedback – Helping Teachers Be the Best They Can Be
School audits highlighted the need for many schools to establish processes for providing feedback to teachers as a vital aspect of improved performance in schools. However giving teacher’s feedback is not part of the culture in most schools. In this session we look at why feedback is so important, consider a range of options and develop an action plan for establishing a feedback culture.
7 Secrets of Motivating and Engaging Students
(PS…they work for the teachers too!!)
Motivating and engaging students can be challenging. Many students have short concentration spans, are disinterested and disengaged from learning. Teaching is more demanding than ever before! Traditional carrot and stick approaches have limited effect. Ultimately we can’t MAKE anybody DO something. In this session I’ll share the 7 secrets that teachers must implement to motivate and engage their students. All teachers can implement these practical, well-grounded strategies to improve their students’ attitude.
Conferences and Work With Schools
In coming months I’m looking forward to working with…
- School staff at Bundamba, Carmel College and bayside schools
- Early childhood educators at ECTA conference in Gympie
- Business managers in Brisbane Catholic schools
- School leadership teams in a number of schools
- Admin staff from Independant Schools Queensland at their conference