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March 11, 2015

Walking My Talk

by Chris Lindholm

Diving into Slocan Lake

Photo by Preserved Light Photography

I’m diving in and taking our high school principal and 3 board members with me.  It’s certainly not a combat mission, but carving out the time to do it feels that way some days.  We are committing to a year-long learning journey focused on the “Core Essentials of Leadership” in hopes of serving the Pequot Lakes Schools community more effectively.  I’m grateful to have partner “Lead Learners” as we challenge ourselves to engage in learning in the same manner we expect all staff to do.  

Led by Giant Worldwide, our journey over the next 12 months will be focused on deepening our capacity for self-awareness and applying that to leading our teams at multiple levels in the organization.  We are learning frameworks to discuss and analyze leadership styles and how those tendencies affect the diverse peoples we are charged to lead.  It involves being vulnerable with an accountability group or cohort, much like a PLC or collaborative team of colleagues.  And oh my isn’t that interesting…  Nothing like a bunch of closed vested leaders with egos being challenged to be vulnerable with each other…

But we will do it.  We will do it because that is what’s necessary to be true to self, and only when we are true to self can we lead effectively.  A leader that cannot be true to self is burdened by insecurity, and an insecure leader eventually fails to lead.  This journey is about understanding the 5 circles of influence and starting with getting the core right first and foremost.  It’s about progress monitoring our influence and developing common language in an organization to talk about behaviors that result in positive impact – or not.  It’s about embracing the humble reality that it takes “all hands on deck” to be a highly effective organization and leading an organization like that requires authenticity, passion, integrity, drive and some strategic thinking.  Frankly, I’m tired already!

I intend to share reflections on this journey in the year ahead, and I invite the #ISD186 community to chime in as I pour out my random thoughts.  Your comments and feedback help me grow in my leadership role, and they also create a transparent, public forum for discussion about what public leadership should/does look like today.  I’ll be the first to say this is challenging work – but it is critical work that I’m driven to do for some crazy reason – one I’m sure that resonates with most of you…

Thanks to Giant Worldwide for facilitating this journey, thanks to NJPA for funding the vast majority of the cost, thanks to my core group for sharing your learning and holding me accountable, and thanks to the Pequot Lakes Schools community for holding up the mirror with your feedback.  It’s a GREAT day to be a Patriot!

 

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