Pitfall of the 3 Ds as a Leader
Even the best intentions and most aptly equipped leaders are subject to human frailty. They are hard wired to be in charge and willing to accept the challenge that comes along with this voluntary assignment. Oh by the way, they are all sprinkled with a sense of self as well. To be the person your staff needs please put the “you” away to lead and avoid the pitfall of the 3 Ds as a leader.
There are many leaders who fit this description to a tee. In fact, most of them do but that is where the similarities end and the differences begin. So why do some of these individuals successfully lead their school through a cultural shift and others, at best, maintain status quo or, actually push the cultural cohesion further apart? There are three key areas that separate leaders.
When challenges come a leader’s way it is how they emotionally embrace these challenges that will determine their success. For leaders it is easy to take bad news or ugly data personally. In doing so they react out of emotion and their staff picks up on this unproductive and unstable vibe. Too many commit the pitfall of the 3 Ds as a leader when faced with bad news: Deny, Denounce and Deflect. When a leader reacts from an emotional frame of mind and does any of these acts they will irreversibly limit their ability to lead.
When you speak about the school or the efforts of the staff PLEASE, at all costs, avoid the use of personal pronouns! There is likely no action you will initiate within a vacuum. The school is not yours but the responsibility to move it forward is. People do not respond well to language that indicates a less than inclusive partnership. They might feel if you are ok presenting yourself as the Lone Ranger during good times you can be one during bad times as well.
Data isn’t personal but your actionable responses to the data should be personal. It must be rooted in the impact on each students’ well being which is personal. The use of reliable data is the name of the game in education.. Sometimes it is like looking into a mirror and not liking what you see. All data really is are a bunch of numbers or sentences so why do people react like undesirable data is a reflection on them as an individual. Effective leaders do not do this or at a minimum, their outward appearance doesn’t indicate it is personal to them. Real leaders live and act by the motto “data isn’t personal but how we use it should be”.
Put the “You” away to lead and replace it with “we” or “us”. Avoid the pitfall of the 3 Ds as a leader- Deny, Denounce and Deflect Leadership is a team sport and as the captain, your job is to ensure you win or lose as a team. The tone and tenor is set by you and will differentiate between success or failure.
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