Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Dozen Signs You Are a Leader


Over the last decade, I have spent a great deal of time researching what makes a leader tick. There are great leaders - terrible leaders - born leaders - self created and proclaimed leaders. I have come to know that while everyone has the potential to be a leader, most never take up the mantle. They are content to let others take the risk and do the work. This even applies to some who are in leadership positions, meaning they have the right credentials, interviewed well enough to convince the panel they deserve the job but are actually leading anyone anywhere but to the status quo.
Several days ago, I read a post by Michael Hyatt, 12 ways to know if you are a leader. Below I present that list and my "two cents".
Here are twelve ways to know if you are a leader:
  1. You long to make a difference - many of the so-called leaders I have worked with proclaim to want to make a sincere difference in the lives of students but there isn't any depth behind the words. You know you are a leader if you are awaken in the middle of the night because you can't stop thinking about how to make life better at work (and you enjoy the anxiety associated with it)
  2. You’re discontent and dissatisfied with the status quo - you never find yourself thinking "things are pretty good, why is there such a rush to change" nor do you ever think "we already tried that and this too shall pass" or worse yet "we do it this way because we have always done it this way"
  3. You’re not waiting on a bigger staff or more resources to accomplish your vision - if I had a dime for every time  one of my leaders said "if you want this accomplished I will need additional staff members in my department and/or a bigger budget" I would be a very wealthy man. The truth is, we don't need more we need to improve the systems and processes already in place.
  4. Your dreams are so big they seem impossible - when you talk about what you plan on doing people look at you like you grew a third eyeball in the middle of your forehead. 
  5. You acknowledge what is but inevitably ask, “What could be?” - I strongly believe great leaders are not deaf to the past and embrace those traditions or processes that are working but always have an their eye on how they can improve upon them. You have likely heard the saying "that is change for change sake" meaning some leader is trying some new idea just so they can say how much they have done. I feel that type of change is as weak as holding onto the status quo - instead we must merge these two ideals to forge forward.
  6. You realize that you don’t have to be in charge to have significant influence - as the chief education officer (aka superintendent) I have learned, the hard way, that it is better to ask the right questions while enabling others to take the charge rather than standing out in front of the charge. The best leaders have followers who often ask, "why do we even have him/her around? we did this ourselves".
  7. You refuse to blame others for your circumstances and take responsibility for finding solutions - it is easy to fall into a pattern of reducing your failures or shortcomings to an excuse. In education, we often want to use the students' home life status or parents as the reason we can't succeed. An effective school leader acknowledges the reality but believes he/she controls the outcomes.
  8. You foster unity by bringing people together and encouraging dialogue - great leaders find a way to get everyone to focus on the process not the personalities of those they work with. I have found that by keeping our focus on student achievement much of the petty nonsense that can interfere (such as personal conflicts among co-workers) dissipates. 
  9. You are quick to say, “I messed up. Here’s what I am going to do to fix the problem I created.” - great leaders are not worried about admitting failure in front of those they lead. Instead, they believe that by showing their vulnerability it only strengthens the bond of those who follow them. I have been told on more than one occasion, usually by an 'old-school' veteran superintendent, you should not speak of yourself in such a self deprecating manner your staff will think you are weak. I could not disagree more - true power comes when the people who follow you know your shortcomings but admire you anyway.
  10. You value relationships more than tasks - ultimately, we must be willing to develop deep relationships with those we lead and place value on that over tasks. Example, if you know one of your staff members has a sick child at home (but on every other occasion has been a great contributor) we must be willing to be flexible, allow them to leave early - so that when the time comes to get a job done in the future they will be willing to stay late because they know you value them. (one important emphasis here is that the employee is otherwise a great contributor and not someone who constantly has "issues" at home to deal with)
  11.  You walk your talk—not perfectly but sincerely and intentionally - Kouzes and Posner talk about "model the way" and all great leaders support their words with actions. I like Wyatt's words here "not perfectly but sincerely and with intention" 
  12. You are a learner. You read, listen to podcasts, attend conferences, and ask other leaders lots of questions - since you took the time to read my post, you are likely well on your way to being a great leader. We must be willing to humble ourselves to others, I have learned as much from my 3 year old daughter and 6 year old son as I have from some of my doctoral courses - if you open your minds and believe learning can come from the strangest places you will be surprised with the results.
If you answered yes to these questions - You may be a leader—or well on your way to becoming one. Leadership is not about experience, education, or talent. It’s about the choosing to lead. That’s where it begins. If you could not answer yes to all that is ok too, being honest with oneself is the first step in transcending into the 'ideal self' or the leader we want to be.
I wish you much success, and remember 'The road to excellence is always under construction!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Books and Resources and Hashtags Oh My


Thanks @tomwhitby!

"Make an education book recommendation with the hashtag #Edbook and watch the list grow when you search #Edbook #Edchat"

With this simple tweet, @tomwhitby started a posting frenzy which resulted in enough books for your next five summer reading lists. Additionally, he artfully gave a real world lesson for new 'twitterers' on the usefulness of hash tagging. If you are still unfamiliar with this term - hashtag - and think 'hash' is a breakfast food or something else entirely (shame on you by the way), it is also the term for creating a network of like minded people in Twitter. By adding the # sign in front of any term you can create a hashtag- or network. Hashtags are used to help us find resources and people we are most interested in. Tom recently created #edbook and a simple request to add you favorite education book. Within hours countless educators proudly posted their favorite titles. Simple, useful, fast... "Twitter"

Here is OUR list, enjoy, and thank @tomwhitby for organizing us. Think of the endless possibilities for new hashtags...who will create the next? follow me @drgentile_mps 

Summer Reading List
....and suggestions for people worth following



Thomas Newkirk's 'The Art of Slow Reading'

Allison Rodman @thelearningloop
 
Neil Postman's TEACHING as a SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITY. Read it 35 years ago and still feel it's relevant!

The Courage to Teach, Parker J. Palmer: not methods but inspiration. Have to reread every so often. #Edbook


Agreed! RT @ashollinger: BLINK and also TIPPING POINT & OUTLIERS by Malcolm Gladwell. Rlly gd laymn treatises on th brain & trnds.
Fascinating book. RT @syded06: @tomwhitby Freakonomics by Dubner and Levitt gets my vote #Edbook

Thanks to @tomwhitby for a summer reading list. I would add "Drive" by Dan Pink to put teacher evaluation in perspective.

@Donna_Jean_K (Thks - glad you liked it!) #edbook Tongue Fu! at School by Sam Horn

BLINK by malcolm gladwell

One of my favorite reads: Writing for Real by Burkhardt

Just finished reading She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. English teachers rock. Frank McCourt's 'Tis is also an amazing read.

#Edbook the Conspiracy Book Series. My students LOVE them. It has gotten my non readers to read!

RT @Cantiague_Lead: What Great Principals Do Differently is a must read for new administrators! @ToddWhitaker #edbook

"Mindset" by Carol Dweck #edbook bit.ly/H2RcyL


I thought The Book Whisperer and Digital Writing, Digital Teaching were really good reads. Practical, but easy to digest.

 @jmheitz: I sugget Leaders of Learning by Marzano and DeFour.

The five dysfunctions of a team by Patrick Lencioni #edbook

Fires In The Bathroom by Kathleen Cushman. Great for a student's perspective.

Brain Rules by John Medina

Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, & Family Life by Annette Lareau

I recommend Coaching Conversations #edbook . Not too long and packed with good ideas.

Subtractive Schooling: U.S. Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring by Angela Valenzuela #Edbook

RT @Folmerica: I recommend "Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions" bit.ly/naU1U2 #Edbook // thank you!

Are We There Yet? By Alison Lester. Amazing 4 primary/elementary


Teach Like Your Hair is On Fire - #edbook

I reread it every year! “@Cantiague_Lead: What Great Principals Do Differently is a must read for new administrators! @ToddWhitaker #edbook

I sugget Leaders of Learning by Marzano and DeFour. #Edbook


Oldie but goodie: HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE by Dale Carnegie (Note: this isn't manipulative; it's about changing POV)

WHERE GOOD IDEAS COME FROM by Steven Johnson

SPARK by John Ratey #Edbook

Left Back by @ DianeRavitch amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg… #edbook

THE ELEMENT by Ken Robinson #Edbook

"Mindset" by Carol Dweck #edbook
"Now You See It and Curriculum 21 #edbook

Build the passion for teaching reading by reading The Readaloud Handbook. #edbook

TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE THEORY LUCY STANDS ON HER PRINCIPAL amazon.com/dp/B005X0VCL8 LUCY CRACKS HER HEAD amazon.com/dp/B0061XKDBG

@tomwhitby The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell isn't really about education, but every educator should read it. Amazing. #Edbook

@tomwhitby how about "Heading for Home" by education & motivational speaker, Kent Stock. #Edbook #edspeaker.


OBJECTIVE: Engaging Reading LUCY STANDS ON HER PRINCIPAL amazon.com/dp/B005X0VCL8 LUCY CRACKS HER HEAD amazon.com/dp/B0061XKDBG #hyfa2 #Edbook

Zapp in Education #Edbook


#Edbook Never Work Harder Than Your Students by Robyn Jackson

RT @davezirk: #edbook The Death and Life of the Great American School System by @DianeRavitch amazon.com/Death-Great-Am… #edchat #njed

Teaching with Intention, by Debbie Miller #Edbook

THE MOTIVATION BREAKTHROUGH by Richard Lavoie -- a MUST #Edbook

#edbook The Death and Life of the Great American School System by @DianeRavitch amazon.com/Death-Great-Am… #edchat #njed

WHAT IT IS by Lynda Barry (more for Eng teachers, but still valuable) #Edbook

MADE TO STICK and also SWITCH, both by Dan and Chip Heath. #Edbook

#Edbook A Place for Wonder. First audience is elementary but application at all ages. Loved it!

+1“@Donna_Jean_K: @tomwhitby 21st Century Skills by Trilling&Fadel #edbook

#edbook Tongue Fu! at School by Sam Horn

#Edbook Why Do I Need a Teacher When I've Got Google? By Ian Gilbert

@tomwhitby Mindset by Carol Dweck and Pathways to the Common Core by Lucy Calkins #Edbook

#edbook Linchpin by Seth Godin
#edbook Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

@tomwhitby 21st Century Skills by Trilling&Fadel #edbook

Anthropologist on Mars: Oliver Sacks #Edbook #hopetechschool

RT @Donna_Jean_K: @tomwhitby The Virtual Student by Palloff & Pratt #Edbook

Creating a Digital-Rich Classroom is another awesome resource for educators! #Edbook #

@tomwhitby #edbook #edchat #cpchat Managing People is like Herding Cats by Warren Bennis

One Size Doesn't Fit All: Differentiated Instructional Strategies #Edbook #Edchat

How Children Fail John Holt. An oldie bit goodie #edchat #Edbook

@tomwhitby Mindset by Carol Dweck. #Edbook #edchat

Driven by Data by Paul Bambrick. #edbook

Making Learning Whole by David Perkins. #Edbook #edchat

@tomwhitby #Edbook Chain Gang Elementary goo.gl/8oX1h

What Great Principals Do Differently- Whitaker

@tomwhitby Disrupting Class by Clayton christianson. #Edbook

Whatever It Takes #edbook #edchat

@tomwhitby Freakonomics by Dubner and Levitt gets my vote #Edbook

My recommendation: "Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?" #Edbook #edchat amazon.com/Finnish-Lesson…

#Edbook @tomwhitby A Whole New Mind by @DanielPink #Edchat

#Edbook Passion Driven Classroom: Transform your classroom into a place that cultivates passions instead of facts. #edchat

RT @Cantiague_Lead: What Great Principals Do Differently is a must read for new administrators! @ToddWhitaker #edbook

I recommend "Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions" amazon.com/gp/aw/d/161250… #Edbook

#Edbook "Fair Isn't Always Equal", by Rick Wormeli

RT @bethbarz: @tomwhitby #Edbook Drive by @DanielPink - understanding how to motivate students is pure gold in terms of pedagogy.

The World is Flat and Freakonomics #Edbook

The Tone of Teaching by van Manen influenced me #Edbook #sd76

A very thought-provoking read: Mike Schmoker's Results Now #Edbook #Edchat

My most recent fav is Drive by Daniel Pink. It will make you rethink everything you do with motivation in your classroom. #edbook

#Edbook Mosaic of Thought- finally pushed me into workshop

The Book of Learning & Forgetting by Frank Smith has also been very helpful... #edbook #edchat

More recently I really enjoyed @paultough's "Whatever It Takes" about the Harlem Children's Zone. Great universal lessons. #Edbook #Edchat
I still think about reading Howard Gardner's "The Disciplined Mind" when I was at Teacher's College. #Edbook #Edchat

RT @Cantiague_Lead: What Great Principals Do Differently is a must read for new administrators! @ToddWhitaker #edbook

My number 1 #Edbook is "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" by Paulo Freire. #edchat #Education

RT @Cantiague_Lead: What Great Principals Do Differently is a must read for new administrators! @ToddWhitaker #edbook

My favorite ed book is Restitution: Restructuring School Discipline by Diane Chelsom Gossen amazon.com/gp/aw/d/094433… #Edbook

As a parent & advocate I give a big shiny reco to Finnish Lessons - by @pasi_sahlberg #edbook

Can't choose just 1 #edbook Stop Stealing Dreams by Godin, squidoo.com/stop-stealing-… & Other People's Children by Delpit amazon.com/Other-Peoples-…

Teach Like a Champion #Edbook

My education book recommendation is 'Drive' by @DanielPink = autonomy, mastery & purpose #Edbook

One of my favorites is Results Now by Mike Schmoker. #Edbook

@tomwhitby: The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. #Edbook @donalynbooks

The PRTI book was a great follow up support to the PLC books...#Edbook #Edchat

My education book recommendation is We Can't Teach What We Don't Know #Edbook #Edchat

Disrupting Class by Christensen. First book study I underwent as a new teacher. Helped me really understand 21st learning. #edchat #edbook

Ordered it this week RT @tomwhitby My education Book recommendation is The Connected Educator #Edbook #Edchat

#Edbook Mindset by Carol Dweck's changed how I approach kids, and even my own learning. bit.ly/Hcqykz

Over Schooled but Under Educated #Edbook

Another great #Edbook that I am currently reading is Mindest by Carol Dweck. Looking at how people learn and how they succeed #edchat

#Edbook Mindset by Carol Dweck's changed how I approach kids, and even my own learning.

My #Edbook recommendation: "Principles of Language Learning and Teaching" by Douglas Brown. Great book for #ELT #SLA #Edchat #TESL

Mindset by Dweck...#Edbook #Edchat

I always come back to How People Learn. #edbook research-based, readable. #Edchat

#Edchat #Edbook My education book recommendation is (in FR) "Ce que manager par projet veut dire" ISBN 2-7081-3261-x

one more: When Kids Can’t Read—What Teachers Can Do: A Guide for Teachers, 6-12 by Kylene Beers #reading #edchat #edbook

#Edchat #Edbook My education book recommendation is (in FR) "Les outils d'excellence du formateur" ISBN 2-7101-1718-5

Fave book for teacher inspiration John Wooden's They Call Me Coach #Edbook #teachers

#Edchat #Edbook My education book recommendation is (in FR) "Aider votre enfant à mieux apprendre" de Bruno HOURST ISBN 978-2-212-54038-3

My fav book: Good Questions: Great Ways to Differentiate Mathematics Instruction by Marian Small #mathchat #edchat #edbook

 @MinaBlazy: @teachingwthsoul my EdBook recommendation is "If You Don't feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students".” #edbook

"Where Good Ideas Come From" - Steven Johnson #edbook

For admins to understand organizational structure I'd recommend: Reframing Organizations by Bolman & Deal #Edbook #edchat #njed

#Edchat #Edbook My education book recommendation is (in FR) "Animer un stage de formation " de Nicolas JOUSSE ISBN 2-7081-2726-8

RT @tomwhitby: Make an education book recommendation with the hashtag #Edbook and watch the list grow when you search #Edbook #Edchat

#Edbook katie wood ray: the writing workshop

#Edbook Among Schoolchildren, Tracy Kidder- great read for beginning teachers or teachers wanting to recharge their batteries!

#Edchat #Edbook My education book recommendation is (in FR) "Au bon plaisir d'apprendre" de Bruno HOURST ISBN 2-10-049252-7

 @frankisibberson: @tomwhitby Choice Words by Peter Johnston #edbook” I agree!

All new teachers Harry Wong 1st days of School
And Kouzes&Posner's Leadership Challenge, And CITW 2nd edition

#Edchat #Edbook My education book recommendation is Homo Zappiens Growing Up in a Digital Age ISBN 1-85539-220-8

@tomwhitby Choice Words by Peter Johnston #edbook

#edbook #Edchat "If You Don't Feed The Teachers, They Eat The Students!" @edbook

I like Art as Experience by John Dewey #edbook #edchat

The Hurried Child #Edbook #edchat

"@mindi_r: @tomwhitby #edbook In The Middle by Nancie Atwell. But do I have to limit myself to just one?"//I endorse this one also!

#Edchat #Edbook My education book recommendation is (in FR) "Former sans ennuyer" de Bruno HOURST ISBN 2-7081-2757-8 I learned a lot from it

Fertilizers, Pills, And Magnetic Strips: The Fate Of Public Education In Ameri... amazon.com/dp/1593118929/… via @amazon #edbook #edchat

Catching Up or Leading the Way #Edbook #edchat #njed

@ToddWhitaker 's "What great...do differently" any by Todd Whitaker

My #edbook classic is The Basic School by Ernest Boyer. It calls for an education that's meaningful, purposeful, & connected. #edchat

"@SmilingTeach: @SmilingTeach: I book that truly influenced me was I Read It, But I Don't Get It by Chris Tovani. #Edbook" //Me too!

Would have to include the DuFour PLC books...shook things up a bit. #Edbook #Edchat

RT @tomwhitby: Here is a real life lesson on Hashtags: Make a recommendation of 1 education book that influenced you w/ #Edbook hashtag & see what results

Loved this one - applies to school leadership & ed advocacy on many levels: Switch - How to Change Things When Change is Hard #Edbook

@tomwhitby #edbook In The Middle by Nancie Atwell. But do I have to limit myself to just one?

@tweet2teech Mosaic of Thought is an awesome book! #Edbook


My #Edbook recommendation is Curriculum 21 edited by @HeidiHayesJacob

RT @tomwhitby: Do a search/create a column for #Edbook & make a recommendation of 1 influential education book using the #Edbook hashtag & watch list grow

Let's Put Kids First, Finally: Getting class size right #Edbook

#EdBook Stop Stealing Dream by Seth Godin. @ThisIsSethsBlog #EdChat

RT @tomwhitby: Here is a real life lesson on Hashtags: Make a recommendation of 1 education book that influenced you w/ #Edbook hashtag & see what results

What Great Principals Do Differently is a must read for new administrators! @ToddWhitaker #edbook

The single most influential thing I've ever read on Education. Emerson's "The American Scholar" vcu.edu/engweb/transce… #edbook #edchat

My #EdBook recommendation is "The Art of Problem Posing" - Brown&Walter. Opens schools' #math potential.

#Edchat #Edbook My education book recommendation is any books from Daniel GOLEMAN (Emotional Intelligence related...)

Differentiation in Action by Judith Dodge #edbook - Brilliant blend of psychology, brain research and pedagogy.

Kimberly Norton @Nortonk_118
RT@tomwhitby Getting Started-DuFour Reculturing Schools to Become PLC education book recommendation #Edbook #Edbook #Edchat

#Edchat #Edbook My education book recommendation is 5 Minds for the future from Howard GARDNER

Book I kept on my desk at every school where I was admin: What's Worth Fighting for in the Principalship by Michael Fullan #edbook #edchat

John Taylor Gatto's A Different Kind of Teacher #Edbook

RT @bethbarz: @tomwhitby #Edbook Drive by @DanielPink - understanding how to motivate students is pure gold in terms of pedagogy.

Education book that changed my life forever: I'd Rather Teach Peace by Colman McCarthy #Edbook @tomwhitby #FB

Results Now. #Edbook

First Days of School by Harry Wong #Edbook

RT @tomwhitby: Make an education book recommendation with the hashtag #Edbook

RT @web20classroom: RT @tomwhitby: Make an education book recommendation with the hashtag #Edbook and watch the list grow when you search #Edbook #Edchat

"@mistisikes: My education book recommendation is The Book Whisperer by @donalynbooks #edbook #edchat" one of my favorites too!

RT @tomwhitby: Make an education book recommendation with the hashtag #Edbook and watch the list grow when you search #Edbook #Edchat

#Edbook #Edchat Anything by Kelly Gallager but especially Deeper Reading and Write Like This @KellyGToGo

 @tomwhitby: Make an education book recommendation with the hashtag #Edbook and watch the list grow when you search #Edbook #Edchat#ntchat

Write Beside Them by @writer Changed my philosophy and my approach to teaching writing. My students thank you. #edbook

I just rediscovered Study Driven by Katie Wood Ray - accessible, readable, useful for teaching middle grade writes. #edbook #edchat

@tomwhitby #Edbook Drive by @DanielPink - understanding how to motivate students is pure gold in terms of pedagogy.

 @mistisikes: My education book recommendation is The Book Whisperer by @donalynbooks #edbook #edchat” MUST READ!!!

My book was written for business, but reflect on it often for educational leadership...The Knowing Doing Gap. #Edbook #Edchat

My education book recommendation is There Are No Shortcuts: Rafe Esquith #Edbook #Edchat

My education book recommendation is The Book Whisperer by @donalynbooks #edbook #edchat

RT @tomwhitby: Here is a real life lesson on Hashtags: Make a recommendation of 1 education book that influenced you w/ #Edbook hashtag & see what results

I would suggest reading Horace's School: Redesigning the American High School by Ted Sizer. #edchat #edbook

@SmilingTeach: I book that truly influenced me was I Read It, But I Don't Get It by Chris Tovani. #Edbook

My education book recommendation is The Global Achievement Gap by Tony Wagner #edbook #edchat

"Talks on Pedagogics: An Outline of the Theory of Concentration and Other Writings" Francis W. Parker #edbook

Mosaic of Thought changed my professional life and prompted me to get degree in reading #Edbook

My education Book recommendation is The Connected Educator #Edbook #Edchat

@tomwhitby I'd say @Kerileef 's 'Learning Futures' goo.gl/HKLWl #Edbook

Malcolm Gladwell's 'Outliers' #Edbook