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  • Writer's pictureJim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 3/27/17 - What did you enjoy doing last week?

This week’s tip: What did you enjoy doing last week?

It is a simple question that can be hard to answer. During your SAM Daily Meeting look at your TimeTrack events from last week and ask: “What did I enjoy doing last week?”

Finding the joy is a key element in moving your own practice and the practice of others forward.. The relentless push for academic gain often ignores the importance of joy and fun. It is critical that school leaders help build a culture that celebrates the joy in teaching and learning—and that starts with the leader finding joy in the work of improving teacher practice.

Take a look at the most recent research, below. This March 24, 2017 article from Inc. may change your focus in a way that will move your practice forward.

Transparency. Passion. Communication. You know that they’re all important traits of effective leaders. But are they the most important qualities? Not according to a recent study conducted by The Alternative Board, which surveyed hundreds of entrepreneurs across the world to find out about their outlook for this year as well as more about their leadership styles. The results might surprise you. According to respondents, positivity is the most important trait a leader can have, with 47 percent of participants citing that quality. Yes, positivity even beat out passion (27 percent), the ability to be personable (26 percent), and decisiveness (23 percent). All right, so an optimistic outlook is important for being a strong leader. But what can you do to ensure that you’re spreading those good vibes to your team? Here are a few key tips to be more positive in your leadership role.

Your team is made up of different people — people who have varying capabilities and shortcomings. However, as the leader, you should make every effort to base your conversations on your team members’ strengths, and not their weaknesses. Not only will this make conversations more beneficial and demonstrate that you have a high opinion of your employees, but it can also serve to make your team that much more productive. In fact, the Corporate Leadership Council discovered that engaging in a conversation that centers on an employee’s strengths will improve performance by nearly 37 percent. So focus on what your employees bring to the table, rather than on what they’re lacking. While those tough conversations might still need to happen every now and then, making an effort to stay primarily zoned in on strengths will lead to a much more positive atmosphere for your team.


The workday gets busy. Your team is attempting to chug its way through a seemingly endless amount of tasks on your to-do list — which means you don’t often get the chance to step back and appreciate everything you’ve already accomplished. However, continuing to do this is sure to lead to burnout for both you and your team. Your employees will begin to feel like they’re never quite enough, which can throw a real wrench in your morale. Make it a point to celebrate wins, make note of progress and accomplishments, and offer recognition to notable employees each and every week. Taking a break from the hustle and bustle to remind your team that you appreciate them will have a great impact on how you’re perceived as a leader. Need some convincing? A study conducted by Cornell University discovered that recognition has a hugely positive impact on employee engagement — with 41 percent of the variation in engagement attributable to the strength of recognition an employee receives.


As a leader, it’s your duty to oversee everything — and that occasionally means pointing out places where balls are being dropped or things aren’t up to par. It’s all part of the job. But here’s the thing you need to remember: If you foster a reputation as that leader who just continually pokes holes in things without any resolution, you’re bound to make your entire team a little frustrated and disheartened. Rather than just highlighting flaws or shortcomings in projects or processes, also come armed with some sort of resolution. No, this doesn’t mean you need to micromanage or do all of the thinking for your team — nobody wants that, either. However, if you can ask a thought-provoking question or provide a suggestion that gets the conversation rolling, your team is that much more likely to be productive and forward-thinking, instead of being discouraged and irritated.

Positivity is an incredibly important trait to have as a leader — and the stats are there to back that up. Use these three tips to be more positive in your leadership role, and the morale of your team is sure to follow suit. ■

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