In Closing, A Reflection and A To Do…

Well, here we are… at the end of another school year and the last weekly blog until we start up next August.  There will be one blog each for June and July.

First, let me say thank you to everyone who reads this blog weekly.  Each week, I intend for each of us to “look within” ourselves and know where we are with our leadership.  If we cannot identify where we are, be sure that others can.  I have said it before; “Others see you better than you see yourself.” (Quote by my mom, Judy Norton)

As I was thinking about what to write on for this week, I reviewed all the previous blogs for this past school year.  As I read and reflected, this is what I came up with…

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I believe one of the best concepts of leadership is the ability to reflect and allow your reflection to shape your future decisions.  As you reflect on the past, cherish the good, and learn from the bad.  Never compromise by separating who you are with what you say you believe in.  Most of all, be for others.

Success as a leader is always at an expense, but what is the cost?  Just because people follow you does not make you a leader.  A “leader” is so much more than directing where others should go and what they should do.  Leadership is sometimes hard to define but very easily recognized.  However, just because we acknowledge leadership does not always mean it is good leadership.  The hardest question to answer is the one we have to ask ourselves, “Am I a good leader?”  We can lie to ourselves, but those who follow us will be able to know the difference.  Can we be a leader that puts off the “self” and puts on the “others” mentality?

In closing, try to do these things this summer…

Tell someone “thank you” in writing. Writing a “thank you” note is a lost art – yes, the handwritten one in an envelope with a stamp.  It takes time and effort.

Always remember where you came from and how much you have learned.  Both of these are easy to forget.  You have to remember it.  If you do not, someone else will remind you.

Most of all, make sure you take some time in your summer break to spend with your family.  Remember, they are your biggest fans.

And.. if all else fails and you cannot find anything to do, then by all means… find a book to read.

Thanks again for reading.  Also, thank you for the comments you have made regarding the blogs; they are very much appreciated.

©2019 J Clay Norton

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Teaching, an Appreciation?

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How do you answer the title question? Not just today or this week (it is teacher appreciation week by the way) but every day.

Is teaching appreciated? Probably not the way it should be…
Does teaching need to be appreciated? You bet!

I believe the role of a teacher and education for that matter is at a crossroad, and it is crucial where we go with it. One thing we cannot do is just sit in the middle and let others decide for us what they want education to be. Who better to make educational decisions than educators?

I say that, to say this… There are reasons why teachers and teaching should be appreciated, and it is essential for everyone else to know why. The value of being appreciated is significant for people in all walks of life. Daily recognition and a “thank you” carries an intrinsic feeling that personalizes job satisfaction. For the most part, great teachers know they are teaching the way it should be. However, not that teachers need public affirmation, it sure is nice to hear it from others.

So, why should teachers be appreciated? Here you go…

Teachers help change the mindset of the future.

How else do students choose a career? Teachers look actively for excellent work and brilliant ideas of today’s youth and help channel that into a possible career choice.

Teachers are walking unofficial psychologists.

I’ll call teachers this… mood-changers. How many students’ mood changes for the better when they are surrounded by people who care and provide a positive impact for them? Teachers are sometimes the only ones who say, “You can do this.”

Teachers challenge the mind of students to a higher level.

Teachers have the innate ability to take a student from “here to there” over time. Incremental development is a fascinating concept to watch take place. Where else can you find “growth” of a person in five to six different areas all in a days work?

Teachers build trust and relationships.

This is a funny concept. It’s intangible, and it is hard to see and find. But when it takes place, a bond between that of student and teacher takes on a whole new meaning. The value of it trickles into others, and it creates an environment where many want to belong.

Teachers provide inspiration.

I have had a few teachers in my life to do this, and I sat in awe of them and their ability to transform my mind. Inspiration taps something inside our soul and mind to make us want to be/do better than before. Society will stand in line to put you down; students need someone who will not.

Every student has a story to tell, and it covers all genres. Teachers are the ones who help write those stories. Teachers are the last of a stable foundation that seems to be crumbling. Teaching is the last stronghold and line of defense that separates society with the notion that somebody cares about where we are going with those who will be our future.

Daily appreciation is worth the time it takes to say it. Say it often and say it loud. Find a teacher and recognize them. A little appreciation can increase a teacher’s effectiveness and provide a smile that stays on the face.

Teaching, an appreciation? YES… All day, every day – THANK YOU, TEACHERS!

©2019 J Clay Norton

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Tidal Waves in a Black Hole of Leadership

It is always good to get the mind working, so let’s start with a question…

Do you believe that everybody who is talking about leadership is leading? Better yet, is everyone in a leadership position a leader? By answering these two questions, we describe almost everyone associated with leadership.

Outwardly, people identify themselves with leadership, but inwardly who are they? Are they genuine? Many, because they cling to a false façade of leadership, fool themselves into thinking they are on the right path of leadership when they are stuck in the mud of their own mindset. This leads to destructive leadership. It might not be visible immediately, but over this course of time, the ripple effects of bad leadership become tidal waves drowning others who follow.

To make matters worse, their self-deception is often reinforced by what is seen and heard as “well-meaning” leadership by those who are naïve. This creates surface confusion that leads to a deep, black hole of leadership that naïve followers are never able to escape. What happens to them you might ask? They end up being clones and those waves we discussed earlier, hit everyone else in the face.

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Much of today’s leadership does not model the servant-leadership, transformational mindset. It usually is some water-downed concoction, subject to an emotional thought process of “If I get to where I need to be, then why does it matter how I got here, or even if I did it the right way?” This way of thinking has devastating effects. As a result, almost any leader who has gained leadership this way is seen as genuine. Why, because we attribute leadership to a position and title. It is seen more as a noun than a verb.

Leadership is so easy, and leadership is hard – Both statements beg different opinions. Leadership is not some shallow response, or quick conversations saying the “right” words. Leadership must be measured and valued with depth and meaning. Compromising the trueness of leadership is where we can see the great divide among leaders.

©2019 J Clay Norton

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Robbing Others of Their Leadership…

How well do you acknowledge the leadership of others? Or do we just rob them of it?

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Well, this is an interesting question… and one I have thought about much for some time now. From a leadership position, we often want people who act, look, and think as we do; more of a “one size fits all” thought process. Now that does not mean we go against our core values and accept radical ideas and changes. I do believe leadership needs to be “reading” in the same book, but maybe not always on the same page.

What is at issue here is that notion that many have exceptional leadership capabilities and they are either not given a chance (for whatever reason) or looked over because they do not pass the “eyeball” test of our own seeing.

I have often heard that if you only allow people in leadership positions that lead as you do, then why do you need them? There are some bright, novel, ambitious people who need a chance to lead. However, society and leadership, in general, is so caught up in the “quota,” the “look,” the “think like me,” mindset, that we miss out on what could be a whole new opportunity for everyone to move forward. Bottom line… more often than not the “right” person for leadership is not given a chance.

The mainstay of “status quo” is – it is “status quo.” Nothing changes. You get what you have, and you stay where you are. It is compared to a dusty, smelling room. Nobody I know is a fan of mold. Sometimes, you just have to spray air freshener.

Do we say we want others to believe in themselves? Well, it might help if others know that we believe in them. Why is there fear in giving others a chance? Is it because we have some internal thought of our own self-serving and self-protection? I am a big fan of surrounding yourself with others who can make everyone look good instead of me trying to look good by myself. It really is too expensive – if you know what I mean. It will cost you down the road.

No one wants to limit their own leadership growth, but when we fail to acknowledge that others have great leadership ideas and thoughts, that is what we do precisely. In essence, we do one thing: we rob the future of someone who could/can make a difference!

©2019 J Clay Norton

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Remember… THINK LEADERSHIP!