Timeout for Leadership-your one-minute leadership idea
Are you an emotional babysitter?
Fact: Yup, it is part of the job.
Unfortunately, there will be times that you will think that emotional babysitting is your only job. This element of your job can seem overwhelming. In my second book, EduKate Me II -A Survival Guide for the First Year Principal: Unspoken Commandments of School Leadership (Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble), I devote a full chapter to this topic. As a former school principal and superintendent, because of this babysitting need, I thought that I was not an educator. I thought and felt like a psychiatrist. I was forced to spend hours dealing with the psychological issues of my staff. I was constantly putting salve on their emotional wounds. I wound “bandage” them up to the best of my ability to ready them to face another day. Was this the job? And was it for me?
I would also wrestle with the concept of whether I was an instructional leader or an operations manager. I had a vision of myself as this big-time instructional leader and yet I felt consumed with operational items. I was caught in some sort of mental conundrum.
However, with time and experience I became better at managing both the emotional needs of my staff and my personal angst with dealing with what seemed to be endless operational issues. To be a successful school principal or superintendent you have to do or be anything that the situation demands. Yes, you might have to be that psychiatrist. Yes, you might have to be that plumber to fix the toilet, and yes you may have to be that bus route manager. It is all part of the job. Until you get the culture and climate right, instructional issues will stay unresolved. Teaching and learning will never take place in an environment of emotional distress or operational crisis. Go fix the toilet first before worrying about the X’s and O’s!
Kim Scott, in her book Radical Candor, Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity addressees this concept. I am finding this book a dynamic read. Your job is to build a great school or a great company. It is all part of your job and Scott calls this management. For you are the boss and this work must get done.
Scott goes on to describe why people do not like using the term of “boss.” He contends that this term infers some sort of injustice. The term manager, to him, indicates bureaucracy. We all like to consider ourselves leaders. Scott claims that all leaders do is “bullshit” you and do very little. The term leader, flatters you.
There is nothing wrong with thinking of yourself as the boss. For that is what you are. Now go out and be the best boss that you can be.