Today’s Tip:  Be a good leader for your school and district.

It is harder to be a good leader today than ever before.  The pandemic, refusal by some to accept facts, staffing and substitute shortages and the constant pressure to raise test scores can be overwhelming.

SAM teams from across the country share stories of how these pressures are apparent in school community behavior.  Actions by students, parents and staff are, in many cases, outside the norm and beyond the pale.

So, how can you be a good school leader? 

First, accept.  The conditions that are causing others to behave badly apply to you, too.  Take care of your own mental health.  Consider a break in the middle of the day.  A short walk away from school, without tech, might work wonders.

Second, breathe.  Are you centered?  In the moment?  Present?  You can’t fake this stuff and you can’t help others find their joy if you haven’t found yours. 

Third, rediscover.  There is a reason the SAM Daily Meeting starts with affirmation.  Rediscover the wonder of working with students to make their lives better.  There is peace in knowing the work you do today makes a difference for others.  Make it a point to help staff find the joy in their work, too.  In other words, keep hope alive by focusing on what you can do instead of the things you can’t control.

Fourth, learn.  Read, below. what the penultimate expert in working with people suggests that you do today.  Dale Carnegie’s straightforward rules are easy to apply and will make you a better leader…happier, too!

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six Ways to Make People Like You

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “You’re Wrong.”
  3. If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

How to Change People Without Giving Offense

Begin with praise and honest appreciation.

  1. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  2. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  3. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  4. Let the other person save face.
  5. Praise every improvement.
  6. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  7. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  8. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.