Review and Reflect: The Present Leader — #reviewandreflect

Review and Reflect: The Present Leader — #reviewandreflect

Model for the Present Leader

This is TheSchoolHouse302’s monthly #reviewandreflect, wrapping up our focus on being a Present Leader

Major Takeaway for this Month:

We wanted to focus on presence this month since we are disconnected during COVID-19 in so many ways. Granted, you may be on calls and Zoom meetings all day long, but nothing truly replaces the human connection than in-person opportunities allow. 

Presence can be achieved in three predominant ways. One, Tune In. Present leaders notice things and they are very aware and sensitive to what’s occurring. Two, Presently Lead. We have to be in the moment, directly handling the tasks for the day. Three, Forecast the Future. Know what’s around the corner, which is referred to as perceptual acuity, puts present leaders in a position to make meaningful decisions by “seeing around corners.” One of the best ways to understand the future is to make decisions that put your vision into play.

Three Minute Challenges

Throughout the month we offered 3-Minute Challenges to develop the skills necessary to be more present as leaders. The desire to be more present and readily available for your team is one thing, but it’s only valuable if it is supported with decisive action. 

How well did you do on the challenges this month?

How well do you notice what is going on around you and within your organization?

How well do you lead in the present with a full understanding of the current circumstances?

How well do forecast the future by intimately understanding the present?

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Read to Lead

One of the most powerful ways to fuel your thinking and continue to grow is to be a voracious reader. Below are the three must reads we’ve featured this month.  

The Leadership Pill by Ken Blanchard & Marc Muchnick 

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

I Have the Watch by Jon Rennie 

What an expert has to say about leading in the present:

We were thrilled to interview Jon Rennie this month. Jon’s time as a Naval officer on Nuclear Submarines and experience within industry makes this interview incredible. Jon’s insight on being present and the damaging effects from the absentee leader make this a must-listen podcast. 

Jon described how a ship in the harbor is really nothing more than cold metal until the crew brings it to life. Present leaders do exactly that for their organization.

That’s our Review and Reflection on the Present Leader

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple and maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Please let us know how our leadership posts are working for you, what you are reading to improve yourself, and your thoughts on leadership and growth here on our blog and Twitter. Follow our #onethingseries podcast on iTunes and our #readthisseries on YouTube. 

Joe & T.J.

Challenge — Thinking in the Future — Asking What If? #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

Challenge — Thinking in the Future — Asking What If? #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

Challenge — Thinking In the Future — Asking What If? 

“The future depends on what you do today.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

It seems that great leaders can actually predict the future, but that’s not really the case. Rather, they ask the right questions in the present to better understand what the future holds. They exemplify presently leading and tuning in by courageously accepting the realities they must face in order to move forward. By asking meaningful questions and listening, we begin to understand our circumstances from multiple perspectives, and that’s how we can see the future before it unfolds. 

In Louis Gestner’s book, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance, he describes the process he used to truly understand the problems IBM was facing when he became CEO. He met with customers and executives, asked probing questions, so the necessary steps needed to save IBM could be executed with precision. The future for IBM was grim, many even predicted it’s failure, but Gestner took a customer’s approach to the problems and worked to solve IBM’s mainframe issues, which “more than 90 percent of the company’s profits came from these large ‘servers’ and the software that ran on them.” 

We don’t want to oversimplify Gestner’s incredible achievement with IBM’s turnaround. The expectations he outlined, the enormous decline in mainframe costs, and the incredible team he formed are what made these accomplishments possible. The critical first step, though, when confronting issues in the present is asking the right questions. When we successfully navigate our current circumstances, we can better predict what will happen in the future. 

Predicting the future requires a thorough understanding of the present. The situation itself should never dictate the vision or where you are heading. Instead, it merely adds clarity and helps create a clearer map for how to get there.

  1. Reflect: Think about a current issue or problem that you are facing. What additional information do you need to fully understand the situation from multiple perspectives?
  2. Identify: Knowing who to talk to and what to ask are vital in gaining an accurate picture. Identify a diverse group of individuals who you should talk to regarding the situation and create a list of key questions to ask them.
  3. Do: Set up meetings with these individuals and work through your questions. Listen intently. Be sure to take notes and define the themes or ideas that emerge, especially those that were different from your own. Once you can see all sides of the equation, you’ll know what to do next and just what the future holds.

Pro Tip: Engaging with key people creates the opportunity for you to investigate and uncover key details regarding the specifics of any current problem. Don’t jeopardize this precious time with them by talking too much or sharing your perspective. Ask questions and don’t interrupt. 

Reach out and share your story with us.

Stay tuned for more challenges, reflection questions, leadership models, podcasts, and more by following theschoolhouse302.com. It’s our job to curate, synthesize, and communicate so that you can lead better and grow faster. In a world plagued by nothing but noise, we help you by getting to simple.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J.

3 Books You Need to Read to Be a More Present Leader — #readthisseries

3 Books You Need to Read to Be a More Present Leader — #readthisseries

Don’t miss this vblog on books you need to read to lead better and grow faster. We recommend three titles that are must reads on the topic of being a present leader. 

The Leadership Pill by Ken Blanchard & Marc Muchnick 

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

I Have the Watch by Jon Rennie 

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

The Person Leading is the Present Leader: Appointing an “Initiative Lead” — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

The Person Leading is the Present Leader: Appointing an “Initiative Lead” — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

The definition of leadership is influence. The challenge of leadership is conflict. The result of leadership is change. Actually, nothing about the pure essence of leadership requires a position of authority or power. We once heard Vicki Clark say it best: “anyone who influences anyone else is a leader.” 

We call this “presently leading” for two reasons: 1. The definition demonstrates that the individual who is influencing others, addressing challenges, and creating positive change is a leader regardless of title. And, 2. Effective leaders are available for those they lead and work with. They show up each day (even if it’s on Zoom). 

With that said, there is a leadership pitfall that we have to be cautious about, which is the default to micromanaging. Being present doesn’t mean that you’re always at the forefront of the decision, hanging around to get asked the next question. This is actually one way that leaders put a lid on the growth of an organization and paralyze progress. Instead, one key to being a present leader is sharing the responsibility of the situation and allowing others to take charge. The following 3-minute challenge is designed for you to appoint an Initiative Lead to spread your ability to be present in the best way that you can. 

Being a present leader means that you have people on the team who can take the lead so that you can have more flexibility in your day and so that others can take the reins. If you’re always in the midst of the decision-making protocols, not only will you be bogged down, unable to truly show up, but you’ll be stuck in management mode versus leading groups of passionate people. Take the following challenge and you’ll ironically step out of the way to be more present. 

  1. Reflect: Think about a recent task or initiative that consumes too much of your time. These tasks are keeping you from other important work, and you might not even be the most informed person about how they should function. 
  2. Identify: Identify a subject matter expert (SME) who you know has the skills and information to lead the task or initiative. This is typically already your go-to person for this work. 
  3. Do: Put that person in charge as the Initiative Lead. Even without a title change, they can become the center of control regarding the decisions and workload. Communicate to the rest of the team that you trust and support this person to lead the changes. 

Pro Tip: We mentioned “subject matter expert” or SME above, which is primarily a business term, used infrequently in education. But the concept is viable. What it means is that you need to build your SMEs–making sure that people are the experts on any given topic. Use the example of advanced placement coursework. Your AP SME Initiative Lead will be the person who you send to any and all (virtual or otherwise) conferences to be the most informed in that area. If you serve them as the expert, they can serve the team with their knowledge and newly found presence. 

Reach out and share your story with us.

Stay tuned for more challenges, reflection questions, leadership models, podcasts, and more by following theschoolhouse302.com. It’s our job to curate, synthesize, and communicate so that you can lead better and grow faster. In a world plagued by nothing but noise, we help you by getting to simple.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J.

The Person Leading is the Present Leader: Appointing an “Initiative Lead” — #TheThreeMinuteChallenge

Staying Tuned in as a Leader: The Habit of Noticing — #TheThree MinuteChallenge

Having a keen sense about the world around you is critical for leaders who want to show up and be responsive for their team. In its simplest form, understanding your surroundings requires us to “notice,” and when we have the habit of noticing, we stay tuned in to the needs of our people. The problem is that noticing, and a consistent ability to be situationally aware, takes an extreme amount of energy and focus. Because of this, the human brain likes to relax when we feel things are normal or that we understand something that we haven’t totally digested yet. We tend to do our best “noticing” when we encounter something new…or something that we think is new. Even then, we typically allow the new experience to drain our senses versus fueling them. But that doesn’t have to be the case. 

The facts are clear. Noticing more can be energizing versus depleting; noticing more can help us to stay positive; and, noticing more helps with speed and productivity (Langer, 2016). The following 3-minute challenge is meant to help you get better at noticing so that you can be a present leader in your organization. 

Being a present leader, one who notices the details of each interaction closely, requires practice. It’s not that some leaders are better at being present and others just aren’t. It’s that present leaders practice the skill. That’s what leading better and growing faster is all about. You can take the following challenge to improve your skills. 

  1. Reflect: What is one thing that you are scheduled to do this week that you feel is pretty normal for you? This is something that you don’t need a lot of planning to be able to execute. It could even be something that you feel is mundane. 
  2. Identify: During the activity you selected above, identify one, two, or three new things about it. Especially in a time when “everything” seems new, these new experiences shouldn’t be too hard to enumerate. 
  3. Do: Look at each of the items you identified in Step 2 and decide how to react to the new insight. It might just be using a mindset of forgiveness if it’s something that someone else did or said that upset you, or it might be that you need to reach out to someone to do a quick check-in because of their body language or facial expression. 

Pro Tip: When addressing something that you “noticed,” start the conversation with “I noticed that…” That gives you an opening to ask questions about perspective. Present leaders notice more but they also seek perspective before casting judgement. 

Reach out and share your story with us.

Stay tuned for more challenges, reflection questions, leadership models, podcasts, and more by following theschoolhouse302.com. It’s our job to curate, synthesize, and communicate so that you can lead better and grow faster. In a world plagued by nothing but noise, we help you by getting to simple.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J.