3 Things Leaders Should Never Say Late In Their Career
"Back in the day..." Ouch, I promised myself I would never start a post with those words. However, I have noticed that as I approach the last 10 years of my career, I have a tendency to pine for "the good ol' days"...you know, the days when rainbows were everywhere and unicorns munched on golden grass.
In all seriousness, I remember early in my career when the veteran educators would revel in stories of what education was like when they started working...invariably it was always BETTER "back in the day." I actually did not want to hear about the past because I was starting my career and wanted to figure out the PRESENT. Those of us who are considered "veteran" educators owe it to the new people not to be the person talking about the glorious past.
We need to use our hard-earned experience to help understand and shape the present day circumstances. With that in mind, here are three things veteran educators should never say to someone starting their career.
1. "You will have to live with what we decide now since I won't be here." Whether talking about a report, project, or activity, a veteran educator should avoid saying anything like this. Think about the message you are sending when you say this. You are abdicating responsibility for implementing what you are helping to build. Imagine how other team members feel when they hear you say this. They hear you saying, "I don't care what is decided." Bad stuff.
2. "Go ahead and decide, I only have "x" years left." If you say this explicitly or imply it generally, the message received is that you don't care. Imagine how unhelpful that is. Regardless of the circumstance where one might say this, if you do not engage in the problem you are cheating your co-workers, and the organization, with all of your knowledge and expertise. That is just wrong.
3. "Don't worry, this is just a fad and will go away soon." This is usually said when a new idea or project is introduced. Let's look at this a little deeper. As a veteran educator, you probably have seen a lot of "fads" come and go. If education is a river, there is a lot that washed over you as you swam in your career. Sharing what you have learned and experienced is important...even when you think that an initiative is a fad. However, we must remember that everything you consider a fad has left its mark on the organization. Maybe the initiative is gone, but there will always be something that got embedded into the system and stuck around. Don't be cynical and just tell the younger generation that "this will go away." Share your experience with similar situations in the past...tell them what was good, what was bad, and what stuck around. You owe it to them.
AI, NFT's, And The Future...
Okay, stay with me on this. You may remember my earlier writings about web 3.0, crypto, and NFT's. I have created an e-book with all of the posts which you can download by clicking on the button below. Well, everything in that space has accelerated since I wrote those posts. NFT's are starting to become more ubiquitous and less scammy. The metaverse and web 3.0 are a tidal wave about to crash upon all of us. So, my fine readers, I am going to continue to push your thinking in these areas.
The above picture is an AI-created image of the first "saying" from the first post in this newsletter. I went to https://app.wombo.art/, typed in the first saying you and this piece of art was created. Kind of neat. I encourage all of you to go and check the site out and play around a little bit.
Here is the important take-away. In the future, I can take this piece of artwork and "mint" it as an NFT. The NFT can be used by purchasers to gain access to other content or services. For example, I can say that the purchaser gets five “one on one” coaching sessions with me (who wouldn't want that, after all! ;)), or maybe they get a print of the artwork as well. The possibilities of what I can "give" to make the NFT worthwhile are endless. I am not ready to do something like that yet, but I wanted to share with you that the world I just described is here, right now. We have to get ready for it.
I found this chart from McKinsey & Company on The Leadership Now blog.
I like this chart a lot and want to add something to it. I particularly like the suggestions made under "Manage Personal Effectiveness." We cannot underestimate the power of being an authentic leader. I want to add one more characteristic to this section...know your personal "why."
The message behind the chart implies you know your organization's why, but you must also work on knowing your why. Your internal engine is powered by your why and is the power that will make everything else work. So, spend some time thinking about your why!