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It Really is All About Me

I don’t remember the exact moment it came to me; I do think it was in adulthood. I had an inkling about it early in my teaching career when I began to realize that you can’t teach anyone anything…they must learn it for themselves. What freedom came from that idea!

For the past 11 years I have been working with all of the new principals in our state as I have directed the South Carolina Principal Induction Program as well as working with teacher leaders from across the state. Somewhere within those past years I realized that I needed to help support these leaders by helping them support themselves.

While the idea seems a bit simplistic, it is really a challenge…how do I learn to lead others by first leading myself? How, indeed.

As we are drawn to rules, maybe the first rule of leadership is that I must remember that the only behavior I can control is my own. Leading first from that place, will keep things in perspective, not to mention allow for some stress-relief.

Sure, people in the organization will still “act up”. Adults whom we supervise and take direction from will still behave in immature and sometimes hateful ways. Folks will continue to run from responsibility and place the blame on other things. Many of our people will never truly change for the better.

But, I can change for the better. I can learn how to look within myself and work within myself to better address my needs, the needs of others and, indeed, the needs of the world. I can’t do it with a stick nor can I change because of the carrot. I change precisely when I need to. Not always, not perfectly, but there is a built-in impetus for change and that is done through my own inner work, the work that is what I like to call, soul work.

Now, this is the only work I do. While my vocation, my calling, remains that of a teacher, my work with others is helping them to learn to lead---to lead themselves. That is all. There is no more.

Maybe you will join Leading Up for a retreat away from your workplace. Maybe you will join us within your workplace as we help others to better trust one another and establish community. Maybe we will work together to establish better and more creative ways to look at our work and our lives. Maybe we will even establish a path for continued growth and development as leaders and as people. Make no mistake, when we do, it will really be all about you.

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