Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 92

We must lead through , not through .

Last night I had the opportunity to participate in this month's #ASCDL2L chat.  It focused on the role(s) of the modern teacher, and one of the questions (from what I recall, it was an amazing blur) was related to supporting and mentoring learners to take risks and build capacity.

This is such an important issue to me.  I tweeted that a mentor of mine had taught me that when it comes to education (and life, for that matter), "It's all about the relationships."

This statements has stuck with me day-in and day-out, and has truly become one of my leadership mantras.  I lead and learn with this always in the back of my mind.  If my decisions and processes aren't focused on the relationships that exist, then I am not doing my job as a leader.

Sometimes, it is tough to put the emphasis on relationships.  We're governed by sets of rules at the local, state, and federal level; rules that we ourselves didn't entirely create.  Yet, as important as those regulations are to follow, nobody collaborates with regulations.  But we all should be collaborating with each other.

Relationships are the key to success, not how well we follow rules.  Often, if we have cultivated relationships well, we meet the guidelines of the regulations simply by working well together.  At other points, we realize that following the regulations will have a negative impact on the relationships we have built.

We're then left with a choice: We can follow the regulations and hope that the relationships we have built with withstand the strain, or we can buck the system and put relationships first.

In either case, there will be consequences, and I've certainly taken both options over the course of my career.  The good news is, however, that if you've focused on relationships, both options can potentially lead to solid growth, and that is what is most important.

The next time you're faced with a decision, consider whether you're supporting rules or relationships (or both).  Never forget that you can celebrate success with people, but not with mandates.

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