Riptides and School Leadership: Parallels in Power and Peril

Riptides and School Leadership: Parallels in Power and Peril

In this episode of the Leading Better and Growing Faster podcast for school leaders, Joe and T.J. discuss how school leaders can effectively manage the riptides found in everyday school leadership.

Imagine a calm beach day, preferably Savage Ditch, Delaware, where you can drive onto the beach and enjoy an incredible experience of sun and sand. Imagine this, though: you’re swimming close to shore in the refreshing water when, suddenly, a powerful current pulls you out to sea. This is the unnerving reality of an ocean riptide, and you can’t see them coming, and you can’t fight your way out of them. But did you know these hidden currents have a surprising parallel in the world of education? 

Educational leaders, much like beachgoers, can find themselves caught in unexpected challenges – swirling currents of change, budget constraints, or evolving student needs. Just like fighting a riptide is futile, these challenges demand a different strategy. 

In this podcast, you’ll learn about the following 3 Strategies to navigate the current seas of leadership: 

  1. Develop a culture of open communication
  2. Develop a culture of continuous improvement 
  3. Develop a culture of self-development

Don’t get swept away! Tune in and learn the secrets to leading through educational riptides.

This podcast offers actionable strategies for:

  • Building trust and a unified school community
  • Moving beyond the common notion that  “we’ve always done it this way”
  • Creating systems that reinforce a culture of continuous learning and growth
  • Leading by example through self-development

Our goal is to be able to help school leaders discover how to effectively navigate the educational riptides and chart a course for success in your school.

Joe & T.J. Are Now Booking Summer and Fall Events!

Space is limited, but dates are still available. If you’re ready to take your leadership skills to the next level or you want to build the capacity of the folks on your team, we have the solutions that you need. Our engaging keynotes and interactive leadership workshops are designed to equip you and your leaders with the tools and strategies you need to thrive in today’s complex and ever-changing educational environment. Contact us to learn more about our offerings and book a session for your organization today! 

A few ideas: 

  • Join one of our Mastermind groups
  • Book us for a keynote to kick off the year with your teachers
  • Allow us to train your school leaders on any number of our proven models 
  • Have us join your retreat to kick things up a notch with practical takeaways 
  • Bring us in virtually or in-person to talk about one of our books
  • Call us for something unique

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

Stoic Leadership and Remaining Calm in Times of Chaos with Guest Glenn Robbins

Stoic Leadership and Remaining Calm in Times of Chaos with Guest Glenn Robbins

About Glenn Robbins

Glenn Robbins is the proud Superintendent of the Brigantine Public School District in Brigantine, New Jersey. He has served as a public school superintendent in New Jersey since 2016. Prior to becoming a superintendent, he was a middle school principal, a high school assistant principal, a high school social studies teacher, and a varsity coach. He is a best-selling author of Calm In The Chaos: Ancient Stoic Wisdom for Successful School Leadership and a sought-after speaker.

Glenn has been awarded numerous administrative national and state recognitions, including the National Exemplar of Education Award, Northeast Innovative Superintendent Award, NJ Visionary Superintendent Award, Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools Member, NASSP Digital Principal of the Year, Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Winner, and SETDA Student Voice Award Winner. 

He has been invited to the White House and the US Department of Education several times. He is also the proud recipient of a National Superintendent Certification and serves as an AASA National Governing Board Member, AASA Aspiring Superintendent Mentor, and Chair of NJASA Technology Committee.

Glenn has been recognized across the globe for his innovative school and district improvement methods and has been featured in numerous conferences, books, podcasts, and other publications. Glenn is passionate about helping school leaders create schools where every student and educator can have the opportunity to succeed to the utmost potential in a VUCA world.

What You’ll Find in this Episode with Glenn Robbins

Glenn starts with the connection between stoicism and school leadership. He takes us back to ancient philosophy, including Epectitus

The book is short and powerful. A practical read and guide for school leaders. 

Glenn talks about how the world is so chaotic and how the wisdom in his book is a friend to new and inspiring leaders.

Listen to what Glenn says about being a Superintendent in a shore community and what he takes from the waves.

Glenn poses a great reflection question: How do we react when things hurt us? 

Expressing gratitude once again is a primary habit and mindset people must embrace. 

Don’t miss what Glenn says about the imposter syndrome. 

Glenn mentions following Robert Greene’s work, Damon West, Chris Singleton, Danny Bauer, and other friends who have supported his leadership. Check out Billy Oppenheimer’s Sunday Six.

Glenn talks about the future. Don’t miss what he’s done with the school furniture. 

Lastly, Glenn reminds us that running schools is not a zero-sum game; reach out to a leader on social media and connect about school leadership, personal growth, and human connection.

Joe & T.J. Are Now Booking Summer and Fall Events!

Space is limited, but dates are still available. If you’re ready to take your leadership skills to the next level or you want to build the capacity of the folks on your team, we have the solutions that you need. Our engaging keynotes and interactive leadership workshops are designed to equip you and your leaders with the tools and strategies you need to thrive in today’s complex and ever-changing educational environment. Contact us to learn more about our offerings and book a session for your organization today!

A few ideas: 

  • Join one of our Mastermind groups
  • Book us for a keynote to kick off the year with your teachers
  • Allow us to train your school leaders on any number of our proven models 
  • Have us join your retreat to kick things up a notch with practical takeaways 
  • Bring us in virtually or in person to talk about one of our books
  • Call us for something unique

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J. 

Demystifying Decision-Making: Exploring the Undercurrents Created By Our Choices

Demystifying Decision-Making: Exploring the Undercurrents Created By Our Choices

In this episode of Leading Better and Growing Faster for School Leaders, Joe, and T.J. discuss how school leaders must recognize how their decisions create undercurrents within the organization. 

Every decision you make at school, from offering certain foods in the cafeteria to the consequence a student receives for being late to school because they stopped for a chai latte, creates undercurrents that ripple throughout the school, like a rogue dodgeball during PE class. 

These undercurrents can have a more dramatic impact than you might think, potentially causing serious disruption. This is why we tell leaders to remember that the next time you’re faced with a school decision, tread mindfully and follow the suggestions in this episode. Your decisions can either steer the ship towards a calm and productive harbor of school pride and spirit or set sail for the unpredictable waters of confusion and disengagement.

Demystifying Decision-Making with Joe and T.J.

T.J. reminds us that our decisions are either rippling toward success or triggering negative waves of dissent. Check the books that Joe and T.J. recently recommended to school leaders

This concept reminds leaders to maintain the Power of Perception and to be mindful and aware of the present versus constantly thinking about the past or the future.

Joe outlines several initiatives that could breathe new life into schools, but they also carry the potential to fall short and leave our good intentions floundering.

T.J. dives into the Initiative Implementation Chart and quickly goes through the 7 areas and their importance. 

Last but not least, T.J. and Joe underscore the critical role of key decision-makers, including individual staff members in addition to school leadership, in making impactful choices for the success of the school and its students.

Let us know what you think by contacting us at contact@dereka206.sg-host.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

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@dereka206.sg-host.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 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@dereka206.sg-host.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. 

Demystifying Decision-Making: Exploring the Undercurrents Created By Our Choices

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@dereka206.sg-host.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