The Uncomfortable Truth About Leadership Failure (B)

A continuation of the discussion from yesterday. It is leadership that is positioned to see the “big picture.” It is leadership that controls resources. It is leadership that oversees the system. It is leadership that leads.  When all, or even some, of the critical components of instructional infrastructure are not provided in a district or…

Shifting Fear

Recently I was talking to a LYS Principal, now in his second year.  He asked me a great question, “Does the fear ever go away.” My answer was “No. It just shifts.” The first year principal lives with the constant fear of not knowing.    The second year principal lives with the constant fear of knowing.…

A Coaching Note… TALK to Your Staff

The following is a message LYS Coach Lesa Cain sent to her principals.  Hey guys!  After 2½ years of traveling, training and coaching, I want to convince you that the absolutely, positively MOST important thing you can do EACH and EVERY day is to TALK to your staff.  TALK to them about what they are…

Top LYS Tweets from the Week of September 18, 2011

When I speak to groups about using bootleg technology in the classroom, many principals look at me with an expression somewhere between pity (for my obvious bout of early senility) and panic (please don’t let this idiot talk to my superintendent). As I query these administrators, it seems that it is the fear of introducing…

A Reader Submits… Mythology

A LYS Leader submits: I find that it is becoming more obvious that we need to question our educational mythology. Years ago, in my second leadership role, I encountered a math teacher who sincerely believed that using a calculator in math class was cheating. The man was very passionate and held on to idea, despite…

A Reader Writes… (Latest School Rankings – Part 2)

In response to the post, “Latest School Rankings,” a reader writes. “As a stand alone freshman campus, we feel the need to grow kids as fast as possible since we only have a year to see major improvement. The kids we have this year are not as strong academically as the year before, and sixty…

A Reader Submits… More Jeopardy

“Alex, I’ll take ‘Incompetent Organization Practices’ for $2000” “Managerial Fear.”What is “Change is scary and I won’t hire movers and shakers that will make me look bad.”SC ResponseThey say that the participants on Jeopardy are the smartest contestants on television. I’m beginning to understand why. These are tough questions that most people seem to avoid.…

A Reader Writes… (Brezina Writes – Part 1)

In response to the post by Bob Brezina, a reader writes: “As usual, Brezina puts things into a concrete and understandable context. I often look to Brezina for approval, as I have tremendous respect for him, and I see his post on this issue as approval. I have run the good race and fought the…

A Reader Writes… (Fear – Part 10)

In response to the posts on, “Fear,” a reader writes: “The ‘Fear’ blogs have really hit home with me professionally. As I have moved into leadership positions, I have found that occasionally the fear monster creeps into my life and steals the passion that I have about education right out from beneath me. However, I…

A Reader Writes… (Fear – Part 9)

In response to the posts on, “Fear,” a reader writes: “Using fear as a motivator is a sign of leadership. Most people are afraid to explore new avenues for fear that they might fail. As leaders, when we embrace fear and overcome the “what-if’s,” it makes us stronger and more willing to change the status…

A Reader Writes… (Fear – Part 8)

In response to the post, “Fear – Part 5,” a reader writes, “Psychopath you say? Well, put it to good use. I have an affliction too: I never quit, even when fear (prudence?) says I should. Some people view me as a psychopath (among other words). Keep up the good work.”SC ResponseI know both of…

A Reader Writes… (Fear – Part 7)

In response to the posts on, “Fear,” a reader writes: “Fear is not a response, it is an emotion. We choose a response to the emotion. The response may well be negative (we may cower, run away, look for the easy way out, look for a way to appease – even though we are right).…

A Reader Writes… (Fear – Part 6)

In response to the posts on, “Fear,” a reader writes: “As an additional thought on the two types of principals that we have discussed in the past, I want to add these thoughts about fear. Not only do leaders fall into one of the two camps that have been discussed, but the ‘fear’ in each…

A Reader Writes… (Fear – Part 5)

In response to the posts on, “Fear,” a reader writes, “Yes, I guess you could call me a psychopath; a psychopath for school improvement. :-)”SC ResponseI know this writer of this comment. He is aggressive, obsessive and just crazy enough to try anything once. And those are his good qualities. This is exactly why Brown…

A Reader Writes… (Brezina & Fear Part 4)

In response to the posts addressing “Fear,” and specifically, Brezina’s comment, a reader writes: “Well said. Fear is always a negative reaction to something. The only positive way it is used is to defend yourself such as installing a home security system because I fear having my house broke into, or I had better shoot…

A Reader Writes… (Fear – Part 3)

In response to the post, “Fear,” a reader writes: “I simply don’t trust anyone who is not afraid. The person who is claims to be not afraid is either not truthful, is a psychopath, or has not experienced enough real, tough situations to have enough sense to be afraid. All three of those scenarios make…

A Reader Writes… (Fear – Part 2)

In response to the post, “Fear,” a reader writes: “I couldn’t agree more! Douglas Reeves recently authored a book called, Leading Change in Your School. In the book, he discusses something related to this topic with regards to the implementation process. There are times when tough decisions need to be made for the benefit of…

Brezina Writes… (Fear)

In response to the posts that address, “Fear,” Brezina writes, “Well said in response to fear, but make sure you can distinguish between fear and prudence.”Think. Work. Achieve.Your turn…

Fear

A reader wrote in his recent comment, “Do Not Fear.” That statement brought to mind a conversation I had with Dr. Mike Laird, on what motivates principals. As we often do, we picked one criteria and tried to see if it does a good job of sorting great principals vs. everyone else. Here is two…

A Reader Writes… (E-mail and Cell Phone – Part 2)

In response to the posts, “Get Your Own E-Mail and Cell Phone,” a reader writes, “I will heed the wisdom given on this topic but I also believe we should not operate out of fear. The Bible says one phrase more often than any other, by far: “Do not fear.” If it gets to the…
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