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SAMtastic Weekly Tip: 10/21/19 - Train People to Use you Effectively

This week’s tip: Train People to Use you Effectively.


Hello! As promised, we have a short video available this week on using a section of the TimeTrack dashboard that often gets overlooked: Groups: http://bit.lv/32xVLRq

You likely know that you train people how to use you by your actions, whether intentional or not. Effective SAM teams work to be intentional—to make clear how to effectively use the leader’s time without ever making the person making the request feel unimportant.


Here’s an example of a leader who unintentionally trains people to use time ineffectively:


A principal looks at email and text messages dozens of times each day, replies frequently, and is often distracted from the instructional work and focus that was planned. This action unintentionally trains people to use the leader in this way—bouncing from one thing to another without a plan. This demonstrates that the email and texts are literally more important that the instructional leadership work the principal had planned. It also encourages people to continue to use the principal in this manner.


Here’s an example of leader who is intentional. The leader trains people to use time effectively:


A principal sets two times a day to look at email and text messages. The leader has an automated response set for all incoming email stating:


“Thanks for your message. I focus my time during the school day working with teachers and students so we can do our very best. I won’t see your message until the times I am scheduled to do office work, each afternoon at 4:00 and each morning at 7:30.” If your message is urgent please contact Mary Lou at the school office, 502 509-9774.”


The intentional principal is teaching people to use time effectively. The intentional principal is helping people get assistance faster... and who doesn’t like faster?


We’ll do more next week on the how to train people to use you effectively. Before we leave the email/text messaging issue, here’s several points you may want to consider:

1. SAM teams that use automated messages stating that the principal won’t see the email/message until a specific time report the number of emails drops substantially.. .as long as the leader stays true and doesn’t read and respond to messages at earlier times.

2. Many SAM principals ask the SAM or other office staff member to triage email messages each day. Triage is the process of determining the priority of the messages based on need. SAMs can forward emails to the correct First Responder, send a reply message that the First Responder will be in contact, save email that is important for the principal to see and discard email that is not important.

3. Many SAM principals set their cell phones to do not disturb during the school day or leave their phones in the their desk. This removes the temptation to take quick look and possibly miss the opportunity to positively impact teaching and learning.

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