Leaders will always be
Your role as a leader is to bring about the best in those who work with you, to help them to shine and be successful, do not manage people.
Let people understand you
Show that they know they matter and are valued
Respect is more important for employees than anything else
What shadow do you cast?
Making a difference is also about the small things, connection and knowing they matter to you.
Help the people around you get to places that they could not get to without you.
Leave people in a better place because they’ve been led by you.
Notes, thoughts and reflections from Shanghai Conference (October 2019) - thanks to all the inspiring speakers.
KINDNESS IS THE HEART OF JESUS
Our Chapel theme this Term has been ‘The Heart of Jesus’ and each week, this has been aligned with our Claremont College thinking, learning, and intellectual character dispositions. This morning I was thrilled to have the opportunity to speak to the children about empathy. I explained that empathy is the key that unlocks the door to our kindness and compassion. Today happens to be ‘World Kindness Day’, so what a lovely alignment with this theme.
Today, our Deputy Principal and School Counsellor have delivered social skills lessons to all grades (K-6) with the goal to promote and understand kindness. Three key outcomes of the lessons were;
Compassion is the desire to want to help someone in need.
Ways to show kindness and helpfulness to others.
Being grateful when people show kindness to us and others.
As we head into the Christmas Season, we will be focussing on kindness and compassion as we respond to the needs of others. We are inspired by the fact that God demonstrated His kindness by sending Jesus into the world - this is what Christmas is all about. So how can we respond?
“Now, this is the goal: to live in harmony with one another and demonstrate love, sympathy, and kindness toward each other.” 1 Peter 3:8
“Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15
Here at school we have chosen to do some exciting and special things over the next two and a half weeks.
‘Kindness at Home’
We have been inspired by so many children, who have asked if they could raise money to help Australians who have been impacted by the bushfires. Over the coming weeks, many children will be working on kindness projects with the goal of setting up stalls, holding guessing competitions, small raffles and the like, which will all be held in Week 8 (check next week’s newsletter for details), the last week of school. We are sure to raise an impressive donation. The children’s enthusiasm and genuine kindness is such a pleasure to be a part of each and every day, here at school.
Next Friday, we will have a special Christmas Mufti Day, as well as our Kindy Nativity Pageant in Chapel. As part of the celebration, all children and staff are invited to wear a Christmas outfit, in the colours of red, green, white, gold, silver or any combination of those colours. For participation in the mufti day, we ask that each child brings in $5. This money will be directed to the children at ‘Project Help India’ to pay for a Christmas gift for 260 children and 12 teachers, as well as for them to have a class Christmas party celebration. For many of the children this will be their first ever Christmas present and for most, it will be the only Christmas present that they receive this year, as their parents are too poor to purchase one.
As part of the ‘Kindness Overseas’ Project, the Year 3 Pixie Post will give all Claremont students a blank Christmas card, and a small fact sheet, for you and your family to write a special message to each of the ‘Project Help India’ kids. I will hand deliver these cards to India in the week before Christmas (I am heading there for a wedding).
‘Kindness to the People we Know’
Today in Chapel I also shared a story about the power of random acts of kindness done in secret. It’s good to ‘pay it forward’, and God loves it when we do these things without being in the spotlight and drawing attention to ourselves. The challenge is out there for students, staff and families to be strategic in showing kindness to one another. If someone is kind to you, or if you are impressed by your children, please let us know.
Lastly, how wonderful it was to hear the stories of our Year 5 students visiting the Dorothy Boyt Nursing Home at Malabar this week. Their kindness, and gentleness with the elderly folk was impressive. The students will be visiting the nursing home again over the coming weeks.
So there you go! Let’s extend ‘World Kindness Day’, so that every day is kindness day, especially as we celebrate Christmas, and what has been a wonderful year. Thank you for your part in making our school such a very special school community.
Many thanks to DR VICKI PHILLIPS @drvicip National Geographic for your presentation at the 2019 International Principal's Convention in Shanghai
School leaders love to learn.
Uncommon leader attributes
“For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighbourhoods, or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions…and increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that is out there.”
Barack Obama’s Final speech as US President
Being your best more of the time
“We all have down times and up times and it is important that we give ourselves permission to have those down times. But the best leaders are able to be at their best more often because they reflect on it, then they apply what they are learning in a more consistent way. Reducing variation within our own leadership, that is a great skill. Outstanding leaders aren’t necessarily better leaders than the rest of us, they just operate at their best more often”.
Steve Munby - 'Imperfect Leadership'
Encourage others to step up. You don’t have to be the finished product to step up. Encourage others to take risks for them to authentic? People will want to follow you if you are genuine and honest, and demonstrate you know what you are doing. They will forgive you if you admit your mistakes rather than cover up or blame others. Admit you make mistakes.
Steve Munby - 'Imperfect Leadership'
What knowledge, experiences and skills do I have that makes me an effective leader? What are the gaps?
What do I think others want and expect of me as a leader? How do I know? Am I happy with that?
How strongly do I believe in myself as a leader? Do I have a healthy balance between confidence and humility?
How do my traits work for and against me as a leader? What are my default modes? Why do I sometimes end up behaving in a way that I regret afterwards? How might I adapt or change my default modes to make me even more effective?
What motivates me about leadership? What are my drivers and how does that effect my behaviour and how I feel about myself? Making a difference? Achievement? Ambition? Status and power? Income for my family? Not being a failure? Need to be liked?
You must always have a balance of fearing of failure, plus a desire to excel
Imperfect leaders are learners who learn from mistakes.
Employ people who are better than you
It’s not about you
Empower your team
Be invitational - ask for help, and be prepared to admit it. Builds collective ownership and responsibility.
If you are new in your role, include others as you form your vision. 'Santorini in the mist'...we had to wait for the mist to clear. I have a misty vision, working together to get the clarity.
Invitational leadership leads to better solutions
If out of your depth, ask for help
Choose mentors who have expertise that you don’t have. The more I’m in the role, the more I need a mentor, because you are too close to the role. Avoid group think
(Notes taken in Shanghai)
The 5am Club: Own your morning, elevate your life
By Robin Sharm
You've gotta love some of those books you see at airports. This one caught my eye, and it kept me reading all the way from Delhi to Sydney. I highly recommend this book. It is full of wisdom and motivation. There are so many inspiring quotes, from both Sharma and other great leaders. I didn't want to just highlight the quotes and thoughts as I read them - I typed them all up, to be able to reference them later on. I'm an early morning riser, so getting up at 5am each morning is something that I already do, but the chapters on habit breaking have given me the motivation to try to crack some bad habits - like having a glass of wine most evenings after work. There is a lot of great leadership content as well.
Here's just a few of the quotes that has inspired me...
Contemplating being 50 years old...
We begin to realise that we’re not going to live forever and that our days are numbered. And so we connect with our mortality...We realise we are going to die. What’s truly important comes into much greater focus. We start to wonder if we’ve been true to our talents, loyal to our values and successful on the terms that are right to us. What will people say about us when we’re gone? That’s when many of us make a giant shift: from seeking legitimacy in society to constructing a meaningful legacy. The last 50 years then become less about me, and more about we. Less about selfishness and more about service. We stop adding more things to our lives and begin to subtract. We start to simplify. We learn to savour simple beauty, experience gratitude for small miracles, appreciate the priceless value of peace of mind, spend more time cultivating human connections and come to understand that the one who gives the most is victorious. And what’s left of your life then becomes a phenomenal dedication to loving life itself as well as a ministry of kindness to the many.
All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.
George Bernard Shaw wrote...
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish little cold of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.
I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is not ‘brief candle’ for me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
In his final sermon before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King Jr., said...
“Everyone can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have t know Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the Second Theory of Thermodynamics and Physics to serve. All you need is a heart full of grace. A Soul generated by love.”
I believe the humblest is the greatest. Pure leaders are so secure in their own skin, their mission is the elevation of others. They have such self respect, joyful ness and peacefulness within themselves that they don’t need to advertise their success to society in a feeble attempt to feel a little better.
No matter what struggles we face and what adversities we endure, no matter what attacks, humiliation, violence we may experience, we must persist and continue. We must stay strong. We must strive to be the best we can be no matter what. Even if it feels the whole world is against us. This truly makes us human beings. Even if it seems that the light will never overcome the darkness keep making your walk to freedom. Model what’s highest for the rest of us. Exemplify grace, demonstrate love.
Robin Sharma, thank you...I would like to meet you one day!
It was great to attend EduTECH Asia in Singapore this week. Here are the slides from my talk. I hope they are helpful. Thanks for coming along, and for those I met, I hope we get to stay in touch.
Also, attached to the link (below) are my slides from the workshop I presented at the 2019 International Principal's Confederation in Shanghai in October.
It is an incredible honour for me to tell the story of my school, Claremont College, and to share what we have learnt as part of our journey of transformation. It is also an incredible privilege to meet other educators, to learn from them and to hear some fantastic talks. Global educators unite!
And note...I am NOT Dr Doug Thomas