Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Curtiss Murphy Talks about What Makes Great Managers Great

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Curtiss Murphy Talks about What Makes Great Managers Great

About Curtiss Murphy

Curtiss Murphy has spent 32 years as a software engineer (20 of those years in games and gaming and twelve years building educational games. He spent 3 summers hosting the NSF’s Edugaming workshop and six years as a professor of game design at Laguna College of Art and Design (for their Game Design MFA program). 

He has a few dozen minor publications/chapters. He’s an award-winning speaker, author, and game designer. He’s been on 21 episodes of the podcast Game Design Zen. He’s currently the VP of Engineering at a Mobile Game Studio.

He is the recent author of What Makes Great Managers Great: How to Raise Engagement, Give Feedback, and Answer the Questions No One’s Asking.

What You’ll Find in this Episode with Curtiss Murphy

Curtiss starts by flipping the show back to Joe and T.J. with a question about why they would want to have an “outsider” from education on the show. Listen to hear about comfort zones, learn from new people, and seek alternative perspectives. That’s what Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and TJ is all about. 

Curtiss simply says it, many managers are doing it wrong. His story will resonate with you as he admits that he once was one as well. Don’t miss what he says about how it all changed for him.

You want to hear what he says about medical errors and deaths based on miscommunication. 

He talks about going from 5 people to 40 and what management practices have done to increase performance on his team. 

The number one premise to start with as a leader is that there’s confusion everywhere. ~ Curtiss Murphy 

Tune in to hear why we must always be clarifying expectations. 

Joe asks about “safety and making people feel safe at work.” 

Reminder for school leaders: Whatever we do impacts our employees. Don’t miss what Curtiss says about “not enough” in this category. 

Curtiss looks for inspiration from his wife (and he tells us that we can’t have her). 

He talks about being a nerd by trade and using the rules of improv (we wrote about this in 7 Mindshifts for School Leaders). Three rules: (1) accept everything, (2) use yes, and (3) make your co-workers and partners look good. 

Curtiss wants to learn to be calm, be in the moment, and slow down his sense of urgency. 

He focuses on praising people for supporting the behaviors that he wants them to repeat. 

Curtiss used to think that his job was just to empower people; he learned to empower the skill, not the person. 

His final thought: leadership = influencing others through trusting relationships.  

 

The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site.

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J. 

A Captain’s Guide to Success in School Leadership: Two Must Reads for School Leaders Who Want to Navigate the Leadership Waters

A Captain’s Guide to Success in School Leadership: Two Must Reads for School Leaders Who Want to Navigate the Leadership Waters

Joe and T.J. Recommend that School Leaders Read The Following Two Books

 

 

Unlocking Excellence: Read to Lead Better, Learn to Grow Faster

These are two powerhouse books that capture the journey of leadership. These two books are distinctly different, but both reflect our focus on school leaders’ need to Navigate the Seas of School Leadership

Joe recommends Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations, which is an autobiographical book by Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired Navy SEAL and former commander of the United States Special Operations Command. The book is a firsthand account of Admiral McRaven’s remarkable military career, spanning from his childhood, the early days in training, to his experiences leading special operations missions.

The narrative is filled with anecdotes and insights into the world of special operations, offering readers a glimpse into the challenges, triumphs, and lessons learned in high-stakes environments. 

It’s an amazing exploration of leadership, resilience, and the values that underpin success in the most demanding situations. The book not only shares the author’s personal journey but also imparts valuable leadership lessons that can be applied in various contexts, making it a great recommendation for school leaders who are navigating their own challenges.

T.J. recommends, Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon, a book written by Colin Bryar and Bill Carr, former executives at Amazon. The book provides a unique insider’s perspective on Amazon’s culture, leadership principles, and business strategies.

In “Working Backwards,” the authors share anecdotes and insights based on their experiences working with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The book covers Amazon’s customer-centric approach, decision-making processes, and the principles that have contributed to the company’s success. It also offers valuable lessons for leaders and businesses seeking to adopt Amazon’s innovative practices.

 

What You’ll Learn in this Episode with Joe & T.J.

 Joe reveals that his mentor and friend, Dr. Steven Godowsky, originally shared this book with him, knowing his interest in leadership perspectives from the military. 

Listen to Joe describe how Admiral McRaven structures the book to capture the intention of the reader.

Joe also emphasizes how Sea Stories covers McRaven’s career. Too often, leadership books don’t chronicle the journey of a leader and the many different leadership positions that an individual may hold. This book does!

Who doesn’t want a look inside Amazon? Listen to T.J. describe why he likes this book and why he recommends it to school leaders.

T.J. describes how these gentlemen detail their work within Amazon and the lessons that can be learned for leaders. You don’t want to miss how the authors describe working for Jeff Bezos.

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing to the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Donya Ball Talks about How Administrators Can Adjust Their Sails to Weather Any Storm

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Donya Ball Talks about How Administrators Can Adjust Their Sails to Weather Any Storm

About Donya Ball

Dr. Donya Ball is a leader, author, and national keynote speaker. She currently serves as a superintendent of schools in California and, for over two decades, has been a change-maker in public education. 

Dr. Ball is a professor of both educational administration and teacher education. She is passionate about studying, writing, and speaking about overcoming leadership hardships. 

Her first book of the leadership series, Adjusting the Sails: Weathering the Storms of Administrative Leadership, was published in 2022. Her second book, Against the Wind: Leadership at 36,000 Feet, will be released this January.

What You’ll Find in this Episode with Donya Ball

Donya starts with a story about her experiences working through various positions and the fact that we tend to talk a lot about “the stuff,” but there isn’t enough “real talk” in books. She wanted her work to get to the real talk. We call that “real talk for real leaders.” 

Listen to Donya’s thoughts on why we’re so reactionary in educational leadership.

She has unique ideas about writing and conveying her message, particularly how she combines her love for reality TV and what needs to be in books for school leaders. 

One “sail” we talked about adjusting is the negative reviews in books. 

Joe tells the story of how TheSchoolHouse302 was born because it relates to Donya’s take on the need for “real talk.”  

One inspiration for her book is the need to discuss career rejection; it happens, but not enough of us are actually talking about it. 

Don’t miss her story about her dad, who was born in Iran, and how he had to establish a new life. We all need to become fighters! 

Donya talks about the need for branding…our perception of ourselves is not always in alignment with the public perception of us. 

Listen to her describe how branding is an obstacle and how we need to do an assessment of our social media accounts. What message are we sending to our school community? 

Donya says that we need to embrace the crises when they occur, not shield ourselves and others from them. 

Don’t miss her analogy for the three types of leadership strategies with social media. 

  • Dismissive
  • Passive 
  • Engaged  

Donya tells us to follow Roni Habib at eqschools.com for inspiration and aspiration in the space of leadership and personal well-being. 

Great leaders ask this question daily: “Are my people taken care of?” This transcends resources, facilities, pay, etc. She wants to know if those she leads truly feel taken care of.

Don’t miss what she says about “raw, authentic, heartfelt conversations.” 

Donya wants to master the art of patience. Joe says that TJ is not a person to ask for help in this area. 

She talked about growing as a leader and why it’s imperative to surround yourself with people who are different from you–political leaders, community leaders, thought leaders in various fields. 

She delivered a great call to action: We need to get outside of our comfort zones when it comes to bringing people into our circle. 

She recommends Blindspots: Hidden Biases of Good People for school leaders who want to uncover their own biases and move past them. 

Donya admits that she used to think about short-term results and getting quick wins on accountability metrics, but she’s shifting her thinking to more long-term approaches to teaching, learning, and leading that have a lasting impact on the world. 

The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site.

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J. 

A Captain’s Guide to Success in School Leadership: Two Must Reads for School Leaders Who Want to Navigate the Leadership Waters

Two Must Reads for School Leaders Who Want to Build a School Culture Where Teachers Want to Work

 

Joe and T.J. Recommend that School Leaders Read The Song of Significance and Retention for A Change

 

 

Unlocking Excellence: Read to Lead, Learn to Grow Faster

It’s no mystery that we are big fans of Seth Godin, especially T.J., but there is a good reason for that in terms of learning to lead better and grow faster. In many ways, Godin challenges conventional wisdom but remains practical in his advice. His insights are unique, and school leaders can benefit from his work. Here’s what you’ll learn from this podcast about Seth’s new book.

 

  • Find your unique voice as a school leader to help develop a school environment that empowers teachers and students. There is no greater superpower than authenticity. The goal is to create a space where people live out their feelings of significance. 
  • Schools are not only a part of the community; in many respects, they are a community within themselves. Godin writes about tribes and groups that join together to unlock potential. Schools are a natural place for this work. It requires a skilled leader to create the right conditions, though.
  • Lastly, Godin talks about generosity. Tune in to find more.

 

We always feel a little odd showcasing our own work. However, Retention for A Change (RFAC) is packed with great strategies, from practitioners for practitioners.

  • Learn how to Motivate, Inspire, and Energize your team.
  • Uncover key ways to onboard and support your new hires. The real work starts when the hiring is done. 
  • Lastly, schools are in a constant state of transition. We would love for things to slow down and for the waters settle, but we don’t see that happening any time soon. RFAC recognizes that reality in education and provides school leaders with real tools to navigate the daily grind. 

 

 

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing to the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

A Captain’s Guide to Success in School Leadership: Two Must Reads for School Leaders Who Want to Navigate the Leadership Waters

A Three-Pronged Approach to Building an Environment that Attracts and Retains Talented Teachers

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

 

In this episode of the Leading Better and Growing Faster podcast for school leaders, Joe and T.J. tackle strategies for building an environment where teachers want to work and want to stay. 

As our good friend, Principal EL, always says, “trying to find, hire, and retain teachers is like the hunger games.” There is definitely a shortage of qualified teachers, so it is imperative that we hang onto the ones we have. To do so, every school leader must actively work to create an environment where teachers thrive. 

 

We recommend a multifaceted approach: 

  • First and foremost, celebrating and praising the dedication and hard work of educators is paramount. Recognize their achievements, both big and small, not only to boost morale but also to reaffirm their value in the school community. 
  • Secondly, finding more time for teachers to engage in professional development, collaboration, and self-care is crucial. We know it’s difficult, but school leaders must uncover ways to reduce the unnecessary administrative burden placed on staff, prioritizing time for their growth and renewal.
  • Lastly, creating leadership opportunities within the school empowers teachers to take ownership of their roles, fostering a sense of purpose and investment in their work. 

 

This three-pronged approach is grounded in celebration, time management, and leadership cultivation.

In the episode, T.J. digs into one the communication feedback models that we work with school districts on, including Specific Praise. The challenge is that managers believe they do this, but most workers disagree. 

Joe doubles down on the need for the 3Rs: Recuperate, Rejuvenate, and Regroup. Leaders often mistake downtime as wasted time, a major mistake. We suggest finding time for staff to achieve the 3Rs at work and beyond. The key is to communicate the goal and intended usage of the time provided for them. 

Lastly, don’t forget to lift your influential teachers. They can galvanize school culture, but they should be developed as well. Do not leave their growth to chance. Find ways to give them leadership experiences and avenues to grow as a leader.

Achieve the aforementioned strategies and you will be well on your way to developing the school culture where teachers thrive.

Let us know if there’s a topic you want us to cover in our short Leading Better & Growing Faster episodes by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you.

Joe & T.J

 

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Debbie Silver Talks about Inspiring Educators to Enjoy the Job They Once Loved

Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe & TJ: Guest Debbie Silver Talks about Inspiring Educators to Enjoy the Job They Once Loved

When you stop believing that what you do matters, you can’t make a difference anymore. ~ Debbie Silver

About Debbie Silver

Dr. Debbie Silver is a former Louisiana Teacher of the Year, a best-selling author, and a highly sought-after speaker. She has presented to educators, administrators, parents, and students in 49 states, Europe, Asia, Africa, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and the Middle East. 

Her best-selling books include Drumming to the Beat of Different Marchers, Teaching Kids to Thrive, and the recently updated and revised Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8, and Deliberate Optimism: Still Reclaiming the Joy in Education

Debbie’s high-energy sessions address both the art and heart of teaching. Audiences delight in hearing this 30-year veteran teacher whose presentations are described as “where learning collides with laughter.”

 

What You’ll Find in this Episode with Debbie Silver

Debbie starts off with the fact that her book Deliberate Optimism focuses on leadership, specifically teacher leaders. 

Dr. Silver talks about the need for teachers to have more time without students so they can break the stagnation and build a relationship culture.

Don’t miss what she says about optimism and “what matters.” 

Debbie talks about incremental steps rather than massive changes. We need to balance the art and the heart of teaching. 

She reminds us to look for glimmers, not triggers. 

She dives into the idea of failing better and building our collective efficacy.

She talks about teaching educators to vent properly and not pull the profession down. 

Don’t miss what she says about new teachers not having more than 4 hours of teaching a day so that they can spend more time observing master teachers. 

T.J. asks Debbie about modeling. Don’t miss her response and her call for unity. 

Her insight about teacher training and isolation is thought-provoking. What we expect from teachers, specifically new teachers, is impossible and unlike any other profession. 

Joe mentions the potential that PLC has to support teacher capacity and growth. Listen to what she says they cannot be. 

Her ingredients for leadership success are straightforward: common vision, shared value system, mutual respect, and optimism. 

Debbie brings up Brene Brown, Rick Wormli, Association of Middle Level Educators, and other resources that you’ll want to check out. 

The one thing people should do more regularly is to give others the benefit of the doubt. She reminds us that adults want to be treated like adults. 

Dr. Silver ends with wanting to learn more about how to use Artificial Intelligence. Our riff on Chat GPT is great.

The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site.

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.