Friday's always remind me of family and friends. As an administrator, I took this night to have as our night together. We had pizza or went out to dinner, and when my daughter was cheering, we took in whatever game she was at to enjoy.
I just finished reading the book Love’em or Lose’em Getting Good People to Stay by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans. I highly recommend this book to everyone working with individuals!
As I was reading, I did a great deal of reflecting as an employee at different stages in my career and as a leader. I never really liked to refer to myself as the “boss” because I felt like we all worked as a team, but if there was a mistake, I wanted to be the one to take responsibility.
In the book, you will find 26 chapters which matches the 26 engagement strategies for busy managers. I love how the book is set up in the contents. It allows you to have a quick reference of the topic of the chapter, meaning and reflective questioning. Perfect for the readers to prepare for reading for more than content, but with a more in-depth look into beliefs, practices and actions. The best part is you can start at the beginning, in the middle or at the end. To help guide you even further, they have included at the beginning a Retention/Engagement Index to do a self-assessment to help direct you to chapters you may want to read first based on your score. This book meets you where you are! Look at the content list of chapters, complete the REI and see where you want to start. Perfect for everyone!
One of the chapters in the book is Dignity. Ponder and reflect on this word. If you are a leader how do people describe you? What if you are a co-worker? As we work in an environment, it is essential to get to know each other, understand cultures, learn about differences and build trust.
“Honoring others and treating them with dignity and respect may mean managing your moods?” We may have times when we need to apologize to others if we cannot control our moods. An example could be: an open meeting we disrespect another employee by yelling at them or making comments to belittle them. Recognizing this is not the best way to approach any situation. Providing an apology is a sign of respect and is appreciated.
Notice your staff, smile, greet them, introduce them to others, and help to make them feel visible. When people leave a job they often report they felt invisible. Your staff and co-workers want to be noticed and included.
In my blog post Wednesday Window Pain, I mentioned a story of my boss not being in her office after asking me to come over. Bosses who are busy, may seem to be unreachable. In my situation, it was true. I never had a time I could speak to her.
Employees feel unimportant and disrespected when they have to ask repeatedly to meet with the boss. Then when they do not hear back from the boss, you begin to lose them.
“Treating an employee with dignity means acknowledging how difficult and unique this life situation is.” Listen to employees' needs and wants. Respond to them quickly and follow up if needed. Be helpful to them in their time of need. My boss always told us a story about a person dying because they worked so much. Remember, she said, we will continue to work when you are gone. You will be replaced and we will move on. I think she was trying to motivate us to spend more time with family, but the message was not clear to all.
Treat those you work with and for with respect, dignity, and love. You spend a great deal of time with those who choose a job you each wake up every morning to do! Isn't it the best job and one you love! Don't lose people who love what you all do!
Order your copy of Love’em or Lose’em on Amazon!
It is now approaching more than an entire year of students, staff, families and communities facing Covid-19 with an interruption/disruption to life/school. Soon it will be spring break, then summer and fall. Will we fall back into the uncertainty of knowing how our children will learn in the next school year?
Doors provide shelter and safety from the world. When the door is closed, we are nestled in our comfort to be ourselves and not worry about others. No one can see us, judge or make us feel unsure, or can they? The thoughts from the day are still with us even though the door is closed.
We can look through the window to see the outside world and imagine our lives differently. Our struggle is real, but no one can see, even though the window can show a perfect picture. It is when you look deeper you can find the scars that are always there.
When others ask us, “How are you?” Do you say, I am fine, oh just fine. Never better. When asking others how they are? Do you want an answer other than fine? If you are answering the question, do you ever think of saying something different? The following is one of my favorite songs! I believe it is so true! Many of us say we are fine when we are not. Those of us ask questions like, how are you as a passing gesture but never want to know and support.
Behind every door, there is a story. Teachers have been able to get past the doors in many homes of students across the nation during this pandemic and this is terrifying for many. Inside the doors are the homes where families built a foundation of safety and trust. Now people are coming into this space and it is not feeling comfortable for anyone. Maybe there is more inside?
Depression is on the rise, and many side effects are happening due to the pandemic, with students staying at home. A great deal of stress and anxiety are in homes. They look at the window with pain and think others are doing better, but in reality, we all feel the pandemic's effects, maybe at different levels, but it is there.
Suppose you are not looking at addressing social-emotional, mental health, and well-being with an equity lens. Then nothing will change and more children will be lost. We cannot focus on academics alone. It is time to make those plans to formulate ways to address these issues for staff, students, families, and the community.
I can speak professionally from experience and as a certified trainer and coach. Also, I can speak personally as a survivor of trauma, living with life-long injuries and dealing with loss due to trauma. There are many steps you can take to support your staff, students, families, community and self. Let's face it, most of the time we forget about the care for ourselves.
However, if we keep the school doors closed, addressing all of these needs will continue to grow deeper. The science we are to follow seems to be transparent in it's indication of face-to-face instruction. The vaccines are being distributed and protocols are being followed.
As an educator, I had many students cross my path with troubles they needed to share. Struggles often more significant than I could tackle alone, but with their permission, we invited in others who could help. I have seen things I wish I could unsee, heard sounds deafening and felt the pain. Hiding behind doors are secrets and stories needing to be told. They look through the windows and look for rays of sunshine to melt the pain they feel. Just as this song echoes the needs of connection as we recover from all of this pain.
Open the doors to opportunity, hope, learning, collaboration, support, and belonging. Differences are our strength. When we can recognize others as the answer to our weaknesses, we can build a strong partnership to accomplish great things.
I have made some very difficult decisions in my life. After my near-death accident, I ignored doctors and went back to work as a middle school Principal. As I began, I knew it was not the right decision. My Assistant Principal and secretary took great care of me in helping to keep up with my duties. My medical team and I knew it did help to push me through my recovery because of my sense of purpose. But not long into it, I realized I was being compliant and not working at the level of standards I expected. I told my leaders to keep it quiet but I would leave the Principal position at the end of the year. They decided a different plan and I ended up moving to a central office position. It would not be a day to day stress-packed situation.
It worked out fine for me as I continued to heal and even made some improvements with some programming. This seemed to be a good fit for me. Then changes began to happen as my leaders changed. My duties began to increase; communication was not consistent and clear. My injuries began to impact me daily with intensity.
My injuries were not visible. No one could see the pain, the frustration, or notice what was happening I was hiding behind office doors. Then one day, my health reached a point when I would have to tell my Superintendent. I had failed a stress test, and more testing was needed. All of my medications were going to have to be stopped until they could find out what was going on. I returned to my office and gave her a call. I told her I had just failed a stress test and more testing was needed. She told me to come over to her office to talk about it. It took me five minutes to get there. She was gone. The secretary said she had to leave to pick up her son she had forgotten about, but did not say anything about me coming. It was never talked about again or followed up with.
You have staff members afraid to talk, ask or seek help. Please open the door, but most importantly, invite them in to talk. Take time with each one and truly listen to them to find out what is going on. It is so important to keep connected with all of your staff, students and community.
I have more to my story I will share as it did not end with just that no show or concern for a staff member's well-being. I am just finishing up a fantastic book called Love’em or Lose’em by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans. I think the rest of my story fits in well with this book.
I have one last song that fits with my theme of healing and overcoming. It is more than just overcoming traumatic events in life, hardships, stress or any challenges we face. It is in our power of belief, support systems we have in place and our strength in knowing we are enough with a purpose to achieve! No matter race, religion, gender or economic background, I believe in you!
Monday's always provide a new start to a work week with an extra cup of energy to boost you into gear! As the gears begin to turn on the commute into work it is a great time to pop in Monday Magic Questions!
Questions start the gears moving in the direction of solutions to problems you may not know to exist. Why? You have not asked the magic question!
One of my previous posts was titled. Can you help? What if the question today for everyone was, How can I help? A twist on the question but a completely different impact. If everyone in your work setting asked, how can I help? How do you react?
I have had the nickname Pollyanna and Hallmark. I do like to look at things more positively, but why not? The link I will share below will provide you with information regarding how people feel about the workplace. I have designed several professional developments regarding positive culture and climate. One of my favorites was for a new Superintendent and her team. Part of the development design for her was to create a way for people to know her message and build a strong positive relationship. We did a letter of assurances to staff. I believe, I will, I am, I have and statements to let them know leadership was in their corner.
A warning to all when you make assurances they need to be genuine and followed through on. This will make or break your climate and culture!
More Magic Monday questions will come as you continue to grow, lead and succeed! When people know you care for them, they will care for you! If you model what you want to do, they will do the same for you. Please let me know how I can help you!