By Brian Marcel, CFO, MSBO Board Member, Assistant Superintendent, Administrative & Support Services, Washtenaw ISD
I have been lucky enough to be able to take part in some leadership training recently and thought I would share some of the “nuggets” I have been introduced to and have been able to apply personally. By no means am I attempting to teach you these concepts! It’s more to 1) share what I learned and, if you’re interested, you could do some more reading or training related to them, and 2) relay the importance of professional development beyond technical training (which is where my personal tendency is to focus). The items I’m sharing with you here are all from a leadership training serious our administrative team is currently engaged in with ZingTrain, one of the ten unique businesses that are part of the Zingerman’s organization.
The first one has to do with our relationship with time. I’m guessing that like many of you, when someone asked how I was doing, my response would often be “I can’t believe how busy I am right now”, or just “So busy!” The training discusses the power of the language we use around time, the lens we use to how we use our time, the “urgency addiction”, and the four quadrants of time management (often attributed to Stephen Covey, but first designed by President Dwight Eisenhower). One of the concepts of our relationship with time is that we are making a choice to do the things we’re doing. We have the control to focus on the things we want to focus on. In our roles, it often feels like the number of activities we need to engage in to get our work done is overwhelming, and sometimes feels not in our control. What I did was take one step back from that and said to myself that I chose to do this work, and that I continue to choose to do this work. That is under my control. I know what this position entails and I choose to wake up every day and dedicate my time to it. Having this perspective has helped me feel more in control of my workdays and maintain a positive attitude. I can’t imagine a career I could love more!
The other area I felt was really helpful to me was in the area of mindful self-management. One of the key points here is that it is self-management, and again, it is under your control. The training starts with getting to know yourself, and then gets into the area of inner dialogue and self-respect. The first concept under inner dialogue gets into should vs. could self-talk. The number of times I have said to myself “I should have done _____ ” is countless. “Should” infers that something external kept you from doing whatever that thing is. However, in many cases there really was nothing external that prevented you from doing it; you chose to do the thing you did. Flipping the self-talk to “I could have done _____” brings the perspective internal; you chose to do the thing you ended up doing. “Should” is a “Could” with shame! Stop “shouding” on yourself!
Also under mindful self-management is a similar self-talk concept of “have to” vs “choose to”. Do you “have to” do something or do you actually “choose to” do something? Everything is a choice, isn’t it? When you say to yourself that you “have to do _____ right now”, ask yourself, do you really have to do it right now? Are you sure? If so, then change your mindset and realize that you’re choosing to do that right now for whatever the reason is, not because you have to. If you really don’t have to do that thing right now, then don’t, and do the thing you really should be doing. How many times have you said to yourself, “I have to go to this meeting”? Many times we say that to ourselves because there would be consequences if we didn’t attend the meeting. But we are actually choosing to go to that meeting because we don’t like the consequences, we don’t really have to go to the meeting! Changing that internal dialogue can help change your perspective on what’s really happening. Taking it one step deeper, often the consequences we perceive are related to how our supervisor or colleagues would react if we didn’t attend the meeting. If they knew the other things you had to do, would they really expect you to be at the meeting? By changing the perspective to “choose to,” it becomes more evident that you can have a discussion with your supervisor about what you’re seeing as your priority right now and you can jointly decide how you should be spending your time.
None of these concepts take hold overnight. They take self-reflection and practice. However, I’ve found that taking the time to do so and changing my perspective on how I view time and manage my inner dialogue has been so helpful to me and how I feel about my work. Hopefully you can take something away from this that you find beneficial for you!
Other Articles in this Newsletter
- Congratulations to MSBO Awards & Scholarship Recipients
- Don’t Miss Out on this Leadership Opportunity
- Get to Know the MSBO Board Candidates
- GIFTS – Julie Omer
- MSBO 84th Annual Conference & Exhibit Show – Update
- MSBO Business Manager Academy Provides Working Knowledge of School Finance
- MSBO Certification Classes and Professional Development On Demand
- MSBO Update – David Martell
- Still Time to Utilize Dynamic Budget Projections
- Welcome New Members