I’ve been able to complete four leadership job shadows since May. I’ve observed two different leaders in a couple different scenarios. I focused a lot of my self-directed learning on change management and organizational culture shift, so that’s what I’ve been looking for in these experiences.
Luckily, I’ve reached out to some very amenable people who have been more than happy to let me sit in on some meetings and synthesize some of the things I’m reading and learning about for PSEL in tandem with seeing them in action.
So far, one of the main commonalities I’ve noticed is seemingly simple, but it’s incredibly essential and often overlooked. Action plans! My leadership role models all create or assist in creating action plans to accomplish tasks and projects. These action plans clearly state goals and objectives for their projects. Sometimes they include justifications when needed. The plans also break down the steps to meeting each goal or objective.
Piggybacking off the theme of my last blog, these action plans are remarkably similar to lesson plans that I created when I was teaching K12. I’ve already highlighted some other similarities between the practices of teaching and leading, and even though I’m highly aware of them now, they still surprise me when I come across others to add to my list. Moving through life in a goal-oriented manner, both professionally and personally, seems to be a key characteristic in my personality.
Some other things I’ve picked up on so far are in regards to successfully collaborating on projects with vague, high-level goals. Successful collaboration in these situations requires people who are willing to experiment and share their thoughts. Having worked on projects with vague outcomes in the past, I used to think that some people simply weren’t interested or just didn’t feel like sharing their thoughts or participating in meetings about such “out there” topics. However, I think the key to success here is making sure that people are comfortable sharing their thoughts and advice when it comes to these subjects that no one really possesses any expertise about. My leaders have done a good job ensuring not only that everyone has a chance to speak about vague ideas in meetings and working sessions, but also that they are comfortable speaking and know that they are in fact expected to contribute, regardless of their experience. Figuring out how to make people comfortable with the unknown is going to be another goal on my list for the remainder of PSEL.