The value of your standards…

Inspect what you expect, but do not expect what you do not model.

We could probably just end today’s blog right here…

Little things… a small scrap of paper or candy wrapper on the floor, but you walk right past it. However, you say to others, keep your area clean. Little things, ignore them and they become big things.

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Your standards?

As leaders, we have many standards; spoken aloud, written on paper, advertised…

Your standards…

Ultimately, your standard is who you are. What others see is what we actually do. We say, “do this,” but we do not do it ourselves. How many times have you seen a leader tell everyone, “This is what the ‘rule’ is, and this is what we are going to do.” Only after a little while that same leader is not doing anything with regards to what they said, yet expects you to keep the “standard” that they put in place.

Our standards should be the mindset of wanting an identity – what we want others to believe about us, not think about us. Time is the accurate measure of what you say your standards are. Typically we all start out strong; committed to the cause, then time happens, and we become lackadaisical? Time measures the standard, creates the culture, which, in turn, determines the identity.

We all want high standards until it is time to meet them. Then… we want the standards to be lowered, for we do not want to be seen as not meeting them. Standards are always good for others, but when they become personal, the marker is moved.

Keeping the standard where it needs to be…

Why would you lower them? Well, it happens.

We lower standards when everyone is not held accountable for the exact same concept. When we let one “get away with something” and not another… others begin to notice. Two things usually happen here… 1) others start doing the same thing, 2) others call the leader on it, and the leader gets defensive. Nothing good comes from either point.

We lower standards when the expectations of others become the norm, and we decide this is where we need to be now and hereafter. Why should people care where the standard is and more than that, maintain the standard., if you are not?

But… what you accept will become the standard and the fact that others are willing to accept your standards determines it’s value and sometimes your value as well.

Be the standard-bearer of your standards. Time will have its say.

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others

©2019 J Clay Norton

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I am looking at me, so I cannot see you…

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I find it interesting that leadership is talked about much more than it is lived. Why are there so many leadership conferences, seminars, books, etc.? I suppose it is for the reason of my opening observation, and that just might be the reason we have such a leadership problem in society.

Everyone I know models their leadership from others. Most often, it is from our mentors who we have “latched” onto – some being good, some being bad… that tells more about you then the leader you emulate.

The more I see the effects of leadership, the more I realize that the excellent leaders are those who would not even think about taking the credit or seeking the limelight for themselves. Is it really that hard to put others first? Obviously so.

We live in an era where many leaders, influential leaders, are crumbling themselves and corrupting others, causing character flaws. We see it at all levels in our lives, everywhere we look. Our hearts become numb; when they should hurt or break over the leadership, which we see that is blatantly not for others. Yet these leaders are everywhere, promoting themselves instead of servanthood.

Good, quality leaders are sometimes hard to find. Is it because we do not know who they are? Probably not. They are hard to find because they are hiding in plain sight. When you do notice them, they are in the trenches with everyone else; boots on and sleeves rolled up, and they are not saying, “Look at me.”

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others

©2019 J Clay Norton

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Resisting the pull of weak leadership…

Gravity is a powerful force. It literally weighs people down…

Leadership, quality or not, has a gravitational pull on people. However, it seems that the draw of one over the other creates a lasting effect on who we say we are with our leadership.

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Do you realize that we are one decision away from weak leadership? And that one decision creates a label that is very hard to remove. Leaders stand at a threshold every day and our decisions are capable of hurting hearts, betraying trust, or even damaging someone. Many leaders do not realize the depth their decisions have on others.

So… that one decision… how do we make sure we stay away from making it? A few thoughts…

First, we need to realize that everyone is watching. It is very easy to live our decisions with “I don’t care,” but when we lead like this, our value as a leader diminishes. I truly believe it is ok for others not to agree with some decisions we make. We cannot make everyone happy; however, our decisions have to show the consistency that we are doing the right thing by people.

Second, we cannot say we stand for something and then go and not do or support the same endeavor of someone else. We have to live the message we are leading. We must have honor in our leadership. We have to make sure our leadership is clean – no hidden agendas for ourselves to look better. A conscious awareness…

Third, we have to know what the leadership rules are. I guess you are probably thinking of a long list… No; rule number 1 – Do the right thing. Rule number 2 – Don’t forget rule number 1. I realize that leadership goes way beyond this, but having this concept can help simplify many of our decisions.

When leaders lead from a position of honor, for others, not themselves, they find the gravitational pull toward weak leadership does not really exist. It actually is more of a push against (rebound) which throws us immediately toward strong leadership, and that is where we should all strive to lead from with humility and sincerity.

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others

©2019 J Clay Norton

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The E’s of Teaching

We all decided to get into education to help change the world and to help children, right? Educationalists (yes, if you are in education, you are one of these) talk about what the role of a teacher and student should look like and be. Being a teacher goes beyond teaching your subject area. What we seem to have a hard time doing is knowing what it actually looks like to “be for a student.”

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Have you ever thought about why students like some teachers and not others? Maybe we should say, care for, instead. Let’s forget about the subject matter for the time being. Our goal for our students should be more than imparting our knowledge. We are the last great hope to help develop students and model a mature, professional example while the world gives them all that other stuff and garbage.

As I look at teaching, students might not care about the subject matter you teach, but they do know if you know what you are talking about. I do, however, believe that students think and care about how a teacher shows and provides engagement, emotion, expertise, and just maybe a little entertainment. If you can provide these, then they might just give your subject matter a chance.

If we are going to provide engagement, then we have to have connections with our students. We have to know them more than who they are sitting in a desk or at a table. Also, please do not let the negative “teacher talk” decide how you feel about a student. We must learn to engage all, not just a select few.

If we are going to provide emotion, then we have to have passion, not only for our subject but for our students as well. They have to see and know we care. Let them feel that “vibe” of your personal teaching touch.

If we are going to provide expertise, then we have to have ourselves prepared every day. Students know when we do not know what we are not talking about. Our expertise defines our teaching.

And there might be those times where we need to provide a little entertainment. I like to call it “edutainment.” Yes, it is ok to laugh and make students laugh. It is ok to do a little dance. What a powerful impact we can have by allowing our students time to breathe, and as I have often said in my classroom, “Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.”

We owe it to our students to be for them. We want them to succeed both academically and as individuals. Our focus is to grow the student. How is a student ever going to flourish in your classroom if they do not know you are for them? Find your ease (E’s) of teaching and see the difference you will make.

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others

©2019 J Clay Norton

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