Friday, June 28, 2013

Vacation advice to teachers...

Vacations are for...

Which Missouri water way is this?
Down the Courtios Creek, before the Huzzah and Meramec join in South Central Missouri, we stole a few hours and went for a canoe float.  A standard get-away for us here in the fly-over states is a summer day, working on our sunburns.  The blue sky, cool water and slow pace are perfect to purge worries and cares from our minds as we slow down and reconnect with a different perspective.   This new point of view supplies us with three things.  Rest, Renewal and Rejuvenation.
Rest Emotionally
Of course the rest is vital.  We really can't go on forever.  Physiology and athletic trainers confirm we get stronger during our healing and resting.  The exercise tears us down but the strength comes from the pause.  Burnout is inevitable without the rest. We must take care of our self first!  Once our heart is over the stress of the prior school year, we can prepare to give to our upcoming students in the following year.
Renewal Physically
The fresh start also allows us to begin new ways of doing things, new methods and new procedures.  We can call any day, "Day 1" but when there are highlights or landmarks to signify and delineate these new beginnings, implementing a change or renewal is easier. Summer break, anniversary or birthday allow us to remake our self and work to be who we want to be.
Rejuvenation Mentally
Finally, this energy comes from a mental commitment as we as the physical commitment.  We mentally adjust through affirmation, positive thought processes and energetic outlooks on our past, present and future.  This realignment allows us to focus better ways of doing things, improved methodology and increased efficiency without disregarding the people around us.  Our focus, drive and concentration improve and a willingness to achieve is once again present.
To all Teachers:
Enjoy your summer!  Let your self go and let yourself grow!  Don't sweat the little stuff, and its all little stuff.  Then return ready to tackle the world.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Know yourself to know others! Try the Kolbe A profile.

This museum overlooking Los Angeles is aligned with both the mountains and the highway, deliberately. This wall and Hwy 405 in LA are laid parallel.  This structure was designed to complement the surroundings. As leaders, do we complement or work against our environment?

Learning about people never returns empty but always adds understanding and insights to their actions.  As workers in an organization, we should learn how our boss responds and how his motivation drives him.  We learn what he values, prioritized and could let go by the wayside.  We learn to try to make him happy with our efforts and productive.  To accomplish this, we pay attention to what he says and does.  If it the same as what we might do, there may be alignment .   If it is different, it may mean we have different Kolbe A Scales and extra attention is necessary for us to align with his perspective. It is not for us to change him, but for us as subordinates to understand his motivation.

Similarly, we learn about ourselves. We may discover hidden or unrecognized talents that need extra nurturing. These may have been areas of personal frustration but reveal themselves as areas of great potential. Understanding these qualities may require extra attention as well as the realization that we may not perform as proficiently as others is a huge relief.  The realization that we should focus where we are more inclined to  succeed may lead to greater success.  By delegating to others bent to the task fosters synergy, collaboration and larger influence.  Therefore, by acknowledging the differences, we are able focus on individual strengths, both in ourselves and others.

This focusing on others strengths allows us as leaders to build a better culture and climate for success.  Others that are continuously assigned tasks that go against their grain will struggle and burn out long before one operating in an area of power.  As leaders, the better we know our team, the better we can align the tasks.  The better we align tasks, the greater the contentment.  The greater the contentment, the greater the effort which leads to greater productivity, effectiveness and success.  Just as a tennis player gains advantage by hitting to the opponents weak side, a leadership concept is to serve to others areas of strength, not weakness.  Even if the leader can do the task better, quicker and more effectively, synergy and greater success happens when others grow and develop and are able to noticeably contribute to the final project!

All this stems from a better understanding of myself.  Sharing or redirecting the credit and taking the blame and responsibility become the driving MO of the leader.  It becomes the leaders responsibility to ensure success by ensuring the success of those around him, delegating, motivating and driving them to their highest levels, not by doing it for them.  Just as an effective parent relinquishes control to allow the child to gain confidence, the leader looks for ways to help others succeed.

Monday, June 3, 2013

What would you do with 3 hours of free time?

Vacation blog!  Oxymoron?
Another interview question:  What would you do with 3 hours of free time?  Three days?  Finally, three weeks?

Consume or improve?   Most people I prompt answer in one of these two ways.  Some are willing to admit they would spend time investing in themselves, taking care of personal needs or wants.  Others would fill their time with helping others, often creating energy from energy by getting their energy from others.  Is one more impoartant than the other? 

In either situation, taking care of self is just as important as taking care of others.

Those taking care of themselves first may be adhering to the advice given on a plane, as mentioned in an earlier post, when the steward says "in the unlikely event of a drop in cabin pressure' please put the drop down mask on _________?_________ first?  Does she say to put it on your child first, or yourself first? Of course, she says to take care of yourself first.  Unless we take care of ourselves first, we will be in no condition to assess and address the needs of others!   Many recognize their needs and even identify and articulate the issues clearly but without the ability to follow through, our understanding s in vain!  We won't be able to help.  Recollections from mountaineers struggling to conquer mighty obstacles often pause when the servant attitude implies we take care of others first. 
On the others hand, folks often find energy serving and taking care of the needs of others.  This drive, passion or even gift often times lurks in the background.  This servant works to put others in the limelight, spotlight and center stage.  A true servant is motivated to put others first.  How does this align with our earlier thought of take care of ourselves, before we can take care of others?
Another option may be a combination of both!  In an attempt to simplify, we may have oversimplified!  Maybe we can't enjoy an either/or situation?  As I sit here, unwinding and trying to enjoy a week of vacation, I struggle with feelings of guilt for not doing enough.  I struggle considering to myself, I should be working on something.  I am distracted thinking this time a loss in productivity!  But then I wonder if I am doing myself a disservice by not truly letting things go and unwind.  What or where is the balance?  Is there a balance or is it all or none?  Will it be alright?  Will everything get finished? 
Yes, there is value in both work and relaxing. 

Conclusion:   Work hard to relax during vacations!  Those in our teams deserve our best.

picture credit:  Table Rock lake, Lampe Missouri photo by author of ZGR and SBG.   (Happy b day SBG)