CEO: Chief Engagement Officer
“…when managers are disengaged, it breeds a toxic work environment. This environment festers into a workforce that is, for the most part, motionless and robotic.” Ron Thomas
I’ve had the chance to work in lots of schools over my 20 year career in a variety of roles; teacher, literacy coach, librarian, lead teacher, consultant and vice principal. All tolled, I’ve worked in 8 schools in these capacities for varying periods of time. One of the things that I value greatly from these experiences have been leaders that I had the chance to work alongside and learn from; leaders who were involved and engaged, made me think, made me laugh and pushed me to grow. Leaders who sought to build their team, and not just their resume.
I pride myself in striving to be such a leader. In fact, one of the quotes I’ve used when I’ve left a school due to begin a new assignment is, “It is better to be though highly of wherever you go, rather than when you go.” (to whom I may attribute this quote is lost to me).
I read with interest and ‘engagement’ a blog posting by Ron Thomas on the critical role that managers play in the creating a climate where engagement and creativity are valued. As Daniel Pink reminds us, we are driven by the our sense of mastery, autonomy and purpose. As a school vice principal, it is important for me to not only expect these things from our team, but also to model these things with our team.
Thomas offers up 10 questions for reflection:
- Does your team feel inspired and motivated by your leadership?
- Are you aware of your team members’ career goals?
- Do you know your team members’ significant others, kids names, family situation, etc?
- Is your team seen as a fun team and collaborative?
- Are other employees looking at your team longingly, wanting to be a member of it?
- Do people that you have managed over the years still keep in touch with you?
- Would your team look forward to a meeting, lunch or dinner with you?
- Do you communicate frequent feedback, both good and bad?
- Are you seen as a coach, or do you constantly micromanage?
- Do your employees feel that you are their maestro?
It’s been a long run from the start of school back in late August and it would be really easy to go all ‘tired, tense & terse’ right now but if we want the students we are responsible for to feel engaged and valued, we will need to make sure that we are doing all we can to sustain this with each of the adults on staff with whom our students spend their days.
That’s a big part of a strong team and is the work of the leader; the Chief Engagement Officer