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(This topic probably isn’t what you’re thinking, so do read on as a valuable message exists here.)
Do you have a personal board of directors? As a leader, have you fostered a team of leaders? Your proverbial inner circle?
Think for a minute about public education and the opportunities we’ve seen come our way over the last few years, particularly here in California. We’ve had an abrupt departure from standards, assessments, and funding structures that have been in place since…oh..about when I entered public education as a teacher many moons ago. Changes abound, yet many of us are in roles that are lonely, isolating, lacking the interactions on a regular basis of like-positioned peers with whom processing the changes allow us to be more effective as leaders.
Enter a personal board of directors, or a board of advisors who can help guide, mentor, coach and aid you in strengthening your leadership skills.
Do you know who you would put on your board? And why you would select each of these individuals? There really is a science to it, and one that you should tap into as quickly as you can so as to further hone your leadership skills. It starts with four quadrants.
Mentors. Who are your mentors? Identify four to six individuals who are those go-to folks for feedback, advice and coaching. Make sure they are a diverse group, and try not to have too many who think like you. Bring forth a contrary perspective can help you grow and see perspectives in an entirely new light.
Support. Who are those leaders who play the support role in your life, either personally or professionally? Think about those whose skills are strong in social and emotional support, the ones who will care for you just because. Maybe they are your “phone a friends” after a bad day, or those who can give you the pep talk on your commute into work before an anticipatedly tense meeting. These could be the Facebook colleagues who post the great quotes that make you think a little more deeply and remind you that you are human, and wonderful, and that your job doesn’t define you. I’m sure you have a few of those. Add a few more. As leaders in public education, we can’t have enough colleagues who play the support roles.