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A Leadership Lesson in Every Story

The leaders in a school cannot do it all. We can accomplish what matters most when we work together.

I stopped by an automobile shop recently to repair a door-ding my vehicle sustained at school. The person running the repair shop was on the phone when I arrived, so I used the extra time to read some thank you cards and hand-written notes that were posted in the window of the shop.

As I read through the different cards, my initial thought was that this must be a pretty good place to get a car fixed. I was also overcome with a sense of gratitude for all the people who took the time to provide their feedback and thanks. Reading the notes people had left also made me think, I need to write more thank you notes. Then, a funny thing happened.

One of the notes had my family's name at the bottom. It had been written a few years back, but it was definitely signed by my wife. This was a surreal moment because in the midst of me thinking I needed to do better at something, it appeared as though my wife already was. For us.

Of course, this got me thinking about all the things she does behind the scenes for our family. Big things. Little things. Thankless things. And how she does them so ridiculously well. To the point where she doesn't just go in and get one of our vehicles repaired for us, but she also takes time to recognize the service team who helped. And the excellence the team displayed.

As leaders, we work tirelessly to co-create systems that support excellence. And we strive to strengthen school culture so that the things that matter most are accomplished. As important as these things are, it's also important to remember we are a small part of the effort and have so much to learn. Taking time to notice...and learn from...the excellence we're surrounded by is critical.

If this blog post resonated, you might like my latest book, Reclaiming Our Calling: Hold on to the Heart, Mind, and Hope of Education. It will help you tackle the tension many educators are feeling using a combination of stories and practical strategies. If you’re interested in technology integration, Renegade Leadership: Creating Innovative Schools for Digital-Age Students is a best-seller with Corwin Press. Both books are built on the belief that everything we do in education starts with relationships and connectedness.




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