The Reflection Pool

What’s Left to Do?

Chris Crouch wants to save the world. I think that’s admirable.  My goals are a little smaller. When I think about what’s left for me to do, it’s really about influence.  What can I influence? How can I influence? Who can I influence?

I participated in #satchat on Twitter this morning (7:30 EST)and was part of an exchange about leadership titles and influence. This tweet by David Culberhouse was especially thought provoking.

And this one followed:

The weakest leaders are those who rely on title. Of course we can force compliance, to a point. But compliance does not result in real change.

I influence by building trust. People trust you when you show a combination of character and competence (thank you, Steven Covey).  We demonstrate character by acting in trustworthy ways: being honest, keeping confidences, and treating others with care and respect. I have to strive daily to do this. Sometimes I fail. Competence is proficiency at your job. Following through on commitments and obligations and calling people back on time are examples of competence.  I can be trustworthy in character, but if I can’t do my job, people will not trust me.

These ideas come into play even more in my current role as school superintendent. It’s a truism that the farther you are away from the work (e.g., in schools with students) the less power you have. It is more about influence.

How do I do this? I influence by showing my vulnerability and growth in learning sessions. I influence by apologizing when I do wrong and committing to do better. I influence by asking carefully considered questions about others’ learning and growth.

It’s a tall order. But that’s what’s left to do.

5 thoughts on “What’s Left to Do?

  1. Sue, I think that you do a great job at influencing people. You influenced me a lot over the years — long before I ever met you — through what and how you shared, and how you portrayed yourself online. I think that it’s a challenge to influence people when they have no personal connections with you, and you managed to do that for me. I’m glad that I finally got a chance to meet and work with you in person (now many times), and you continue to influence me (even after I’ve switched schools and am no longer in your cluster). You don’t just write about how to be a better leader … you live by these words! Thank you!


  2. I like the question, “What’s left to do?, Sue. For me, what’s left to do is to go deeper with learning and teaching so every child gets a top-notch experience when they are in my class. I also need to continue to advocate for the supports that will help us as teachers to reach a goal of successful, deep teaching and learning in the areas that affect our work–areas that require more than just one teacher’s work and effort such as supply systems, tech access, materials acquisition, timely, effective, and inclusive decision making processes, and continuous, comprehensive share of information that impacts our daily work.

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