After a great beginning of the week, Wednesday hit hard. I got busy and I dropped the ball on something. It resulted in my principal being blindsided by a very irate parent in his office. I took my misstep hard, but my principal said the most profound thing: “Good leaders reflect on the missteps and do not take it personally.” So here goes:
The things I will do better:
1. Communicate: I forgot to keep my principal informed of the parent conversations I had. I didn’t put them all in the parent contact log. I also did not verbally tell him about one particular contact when I saw him that day. So I will now pause and summarize my meeting with a parent after I get off of the phone or have a conversation.
2. Delegate: No one will take away my S on my chest if I ask and request help. I do not have to investigate everything. I have a league of people willing and capable of helping me be the best at my job. Just like my primary job is to make my principal look good, it is also lots of others jobs too. This is hard skill is hard at home too.
The things I learned by watching my principal handle my misstep:
1. Give quality feedback to correct a mistake. He calmly looked at me and said, “Let’s talk about this at our SAM meeting to discuss how to address the root cause of it.” I came to the realization with effective questioning and clear description of the problem. I own that mistake now and I will actively prevent that issue in future.
2. Agree and disagree. I watched as he listened calmly and quietly to the parent. He didn’t justify why what happened happened. He let his silence do the heavy lifting. At the same time, when the mom said something that was false, he respectfully disagreed. The parent left happy that action would be taken.
Finally, I learned that my mistakes do not define me but how my responses to my mistakes do. So the next day, I came back to school with a smile on my face determined that I will communicate and delegate effectively.
So today I had that opportunity. I called for back-up. My counselor took a student that was in crisis. A para-educator investigated a low-level issue and summarized the findings to me. I made sure that I documented everyone I talked to and verbally kept my principal aware of the larger issues. I left school later than usual, but excited that I managed a busy day effectively.