Even though we don’t really know what the issue is, we’re quite sure we’ve got the answer they need.
Michael Bungay Stanier
The most important process in creating change in any environment is to lead from the heart and love those whom we lead each day. While this level of caring is the first step, it, alone, does not create all the change that is needed. As stated in the past, we must love people first; people must know that we care. After we have established an environment where people feel they are cared for and safe to take the appropriate risks needed to improve, we must then find ways to build skill within those individuals so they can tackle challenges and overcome roadblocks that are standing in the way to the success of all.
“Equip” is a very intentional word in the process of leading with L.E.S.S. and creating positive change that will improve our schools and classrooms. It is about giving people the necessary skills for change, not changing people. You can control your responses to the events of your life, you can strive for new outcomes, you can change yourself. But, you (and only you) can create change in yourself. No one else can do it for you. As leaders, we must remember the people we serve are the only ones that can change themselves. A leader can only equip people with the skills, tools, or clarity to change themselves.
Many leaders attack the change process from the wrong angle. Often, trying to create large scale changes in their school with policies, procedures, strategies, or tactics. These processes only work to create compliance, not sustainable change. To create the sustainable change that will continue to build around you and not just because of you, you must equip people to do it themselves. If the leader is the only one responsible for change, it is a process of compliance which will ultimately fail or stop as leadership changes. If, as a leader, you equip people to handle any situation and create change in their own space, change and betterment will be sustainable. Any change that is created in a school (or any organization for that matter) is done one person at a time. When a large number of people are creating change culture will shift and new norms will be formed.
The pitfall for most leaders in these scenarios aligns to the quote used at the start of this post. Leaders can get hyper-focused on “the change” they are trying to create and forget that the people they serve are the ones that will make that change. These leaders are so sure they know the answer needed to solve the problem, they fail to build the skills in individuals that are needed to attack the real problem at hand. That is often the problem with highly intelligent leaders who do not put “love” first — they are so sure their assumptions are correct and that they have the right answers, they are blind to the real problems. To create change, we must always remember that people matter most. To create change, we must equip people with the skills needed to address the issues first before we can build a better outcome.
Equip people. Is the next step in leading with L.E.S.S. To improve our buildings or corporations, we must create change, and to create that change we must equip people with the skills needed to change themselves.
Over the next few posts, I will break down the components of what allows us to equip people to improve themselves and handle changes that are coming at a rapid pace in our schools. Here are the ideas that will be shared in the next five posts.
- Can We Change?
- What You Believe
- Build Skill…You Always Have Time
- Your Slowest Rower
- Realist, Optimist, and Pessimist
I hope you can to follow along as I work through the next steps of leading with L.E.S.S.