One of my morning reads is the Leadership Freak. This week, there was a really interesting piece of reading in the post “12 Powerful Ways to Make People Feel Powerful“. That wasn’t all that was in there but the list of 12 appears towards the end of the article. I’d suggest that it’s a good read for administrators and teachers and also students as they work in groups.
As with most good posts, it closes with a call to action – basically with a couple of questions. The second one was interesting “Who made you feel powerful? What did they do?“
I immediately zeroed in on advice I got from my father a long time ago “Do good by making others do better”. When I put the two of them together, it made me really appreciate a couple of leaders that entered my life.
One of these leaders was a principal. This person truly led by example. There was no activity in the school that he didn’t take part in. There were clearly activities where he didn’t belong – my computer club being one – but his presence was inspirational to the students just for being there. In the beginning, I’ll admit that it was a little freaky but once I saw the results from him doing it, I appreciated it so much. It really validated my efforts.
Later on, as a consultant, I had a superintendent who took his job as leader to the next level. It seemed that his only goal was to ensure that we were successful. He pushed us in so many ways. A couple of examples.
This was another freaky one. Quite often, we would have to attend the same event in London. It only made sense to drive together. He always insisted that I would drive. That wasn’t a problem; I enjoy driving. But, his part in the trip was interesting. He would bring a notebook full of computer and computers in the classroom questions and I was more or less interviewed the entire distance. Thank goodness for the ONRoutes at Tilbury and Dutton. The first time we did this, it felt like a job interview! Then I realized he was doing two things – first, testing to make sure that I was consistent with my convictions. Secondly, he would learn and then when he would face the board of trustees, he was on top of what was happening.
The second example really showed his commitment to the group of us who worked for him. It was a year of financial cutbacks in the board and consultant professional learning budgets were set to zero. The superintendent budgets remained in place. I worked with a couple of people who had been working on a provincial conference for at least a couple of years. They got to go. Sadly, I didn’t. It was later that I found out that he quietly had shifted his budget to them. My take away was his commitment to the good of the group.
To this day, I remain appreciative for these (and other) actions. They confirmed that there were people who supported me and I guess they did make me feel powerful. I don’t know that I fully appreciated the extent of these efforts at the time but I did come to.
How about you? What efforts of others made you feel powerful?