I had the pleasure of attending AMLE last week where Beth Houf (@BethHouf) and I presented our inaugural Lead Like a PIRATE (#LeadLAP) workshop. We had an outstanding time working with the great middle school educators in the room, and we made so many incredible connections with leaders who are passionate about making a difference. A critical component of the workshop was a focus on a mindset shift for observing classrooms and providing teachers feedback. Too often observations and feedback come across as evaluative and judgmental leaving teachers with a feeling that we are in their classrooms to “fix” them as opposed to partnering with them on a continuous journey of learning and growth for all of us. The overly judgmental “telling” conversations can temporarily lead to teacher compliance, but they rarely lead to a culture where everyone is committed to taking risks and trying new things and where people are hungry for feedback to help them learn and grow. As PIRATE leaders, we believe in changing the typical observation/feedback cycle into ANCHOR conversations (of course we had to use a PIRATE acronym):
At the conclusion of the workshop, we posed our first #LeadLAP challenge… Take just 30 minutes out of your day and visit 15 classrooms for two minutes each. Before you leave, tell the teacher something you appreciated about what you just saw. No messages about what you think should be better – just messages of appreciation (for more about the power of appreciation, see my last post: Start With Appreciation). In the words of Anthony Robbins, “Where your focus goes, your energy flows”. As leaders we have been conditioned to look for what needs to be better, we are “fixers” by nature, but if that is where we focus all of our attention we are at risk of missing all that is going right. The best kept secret about dropping 15 messages of appreciation… not only do you brighten the day of your teachers, but you’ll feel pretty good yourself!
Thanks to all of the PIRATE leaders who took the #LeadLAP challenge today.
Please join us as we continue the challenge this week – Let’s drop ANCHORS all week! We would love for you to share with us how it goes using #LeadLAP or leaving comments below.
— mandy ellis (@mandyeellis) October 19, 2015
— Jay Billy (@JayBilly2) October 19, 2015
— Robert Abney (@abney45) October 19, 2015