I write this sitting in a hall at a conference surrounded by over 1000 school leaders being bored to death by a key note speaker.
He is obviously a man with a brilliant mind, an experienced skilled expert in his field; but grief he is no public speaker! Whoever booked him assumed that as a professor of education he would be adept at engaging like-minded colleagues in discourse about our profession.
It is clear he assumes we are sat here; engaged with his monologue, listening keenly and increasing in our understanding. WE ARE NOT!
I look up and down my row of 13 colleagues
- 6 are on their tablets and phones
- One is genuinely asleep
- One is resting her head on her ample bosom trying not to sleep
- One is writing her blog (me)
- 3 are trying to actually stay with the speaker and nod politely in the right places
This patterns repeats itself in the rows before and behind me…so what is my leadership thought?
Don’t assume that your title, years of service or status equips you for all the aspects of your role.
Being a senior leader does not automatically make you an accomplished public speaker
Being a senior leader does not mean you automatically understand the nuances of managing multiple staff teams.
Being a senior leader does not automatically mean you can carry the mental and emotional weight of leadership when your school community is under pressure.
All of these you should do, but you may not excel at.
As a leader you need to be an excellent orator, able to speak to multiple audiences and articulate vision or procedure; but you are also aware that this may not be your strength. Don’t cover it, don’t skirt around: do something about it.
Covering flaws in a fundamental area is a false economy, believe me EVERYONE ELSE KNOWS and it simply detracts from your credibility when you think you have cleverly hidden it away.
What do you need to learn?
- Public speaking
- Dealing with confrontational staff
- Strategic planning
- Maintaining your composure under pressure
Give me a call…let’s talk.
The man at the conference is still wittering on with no understanding that he lost the audience in the first 5 minutes. He has read multiple power point slides at us (obviously he forgot that 1000 school leaders can read)
There is no end in sight; he is scheduled for another 30 minutes and I have finished all my gummy bear sweets…
Grief, will someone please set off the fire alarm so we can go home?