Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Leaders Don't Compartmentalize

Isn't that a great picture? I've just spent the last few days at Orange Beach, Alabama, for a leadership conference for members of Alabama Association of Secondary & Middle School Principals (AASSP and AAMSP). It's always fun to see other school leaders away from our schools where we can learn from each other. The environment is wonderful, too. The picture above is from my hotel balcony. (The average temperature was 71 during the day.)

While there, we heard from our state superintendent, Tommy Bice, who is always inspiring and motivational. He always encourages us to think outside the box and always do what's best for kids. 

Another leader we heard from was Troy University's chancellor, Dr. Jack Watkins. 

He shared many stories and advice, and one that resonated with me was a story about Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-a restaurants. He shared the story about Mr. Cathy going to Congress in 2002 to meet before the sub-committee of Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection. He was supposed to share about business ethics. 

He said there's no such thing. Why did it resonate with me? This is (sort of) what I tell students. When I have students in my office, we usually talk about grades in addition to why they are with me. When I have athletes in my office, or students in the band, or a club, or choir... I talk to them about their roles in those activities. They tell me they can't imagine showing up for practice late, or not having their instrument, or not fulfilling their responsibility to their club. Then I tell them not to compartmentalize! The same discipline, preparedness, and follow-through that they use and demonstrate in those activities is the same discipline, preparedness, and follow-through that must be demonstrated in the classroom. 

Then today, I read a tweet from the amazing Lolly Daskal. It was a link to her latest post, Codes of Conduct to Lead By

She gives a list of codes of conduct to implement into leadership, such as

  • Be your authentic self, because you have to live with yourself every day.
  • Always take the high road. No matter what others say.
  • Always keep your word.
  • Be consistent in all you say and do.
  • Give more; expect less.
(The rest of the list can be found HERE.)
She ends the post with this:

"Lead From Within:  The codes of our lives are what help us to conduct ourselves rightly and have the right outlook on life. They provide guidance for our leadership."

Do you compartmentalize as a leader?

What else would you add to Lolly's list of codes of conduct?


  1. Jennifer,
    Awesome post! Your counsel to your kids is perfect, spot on! They must be aware that their actions tell who they are, no matter where they are. We, as leaders, never have the luxury of being "off" We are always "on" - at the mall, grocery store, at church, and at our events/performances.
    I had the best compliments given me as I was leaving "you walk your talk" "you are a doer" & best one that still have on my phone "thank you for loving our kids"
    Keep up the good work, I admire you and your work.

  2. Jennifer, Great post! I love how you are supporting students and making connections through high interest activities and relating that to their daily classroom responsibilities. Thanks for sharing and enjoy the weekend!