Whenever I read, I take note of certain quotes that truly resonate with me, as a learner, a leader, as a writer, and as a reader. Here are the quotes that have resonated with me lately. I’d love to hear about what quotes resonate with you, my readers.
“…[women] often feel that we are not ready for the position. We will prepare, and prepare, and prepare, while men will step right into the challenge whether they are prepared or not.” ~ Sharon Contreras, Superintendent, in “N.C. Superintendent’s Philosophy on Being a Woman and a Schools Chief: ‘You Just Do The Work‘”
I have read a similar quote about men and women before, but now that I am participating in the AASA Women in Leadership Initiative, this idea is resonating with me more than ever. Why is it that men have total confidence to apply for and accept positions for which they may not be qualified, but women wait until they are overqualified? How can we coach more women educators to step into higher level roles? How can we support more educators, especially women and people of color, to feel more prepared to lead?
“Women make up 76% of teachers, 52% of principals, and 78% of central-office administrators, according to federal data and the results of a recent national survey. Yet they account for less than a quarter of all superintendents, according to a survey conducted this summer by AASA, the School Superintendents Association. But that number represents improvement since 2000, when 13% were women.” ~ “Few Women Run School Districts. Why?” by Denisa R. Superville, Ed Week, 11/16/16
As noted above, I’ve been reading more and more about women in leadership positions and I’m noting the issues more and more. This article did go on to say that California has higher averages of women superintendents. I’ve been fortunate to work for 4 female superintendents in my career thus far and have never questioned whether or not a woman could be superintendent, because I’ve seen it over and over again. I’m grateful for the inspirational women who have been and continue to be my mentors.
“The more I thanked them for hard work, the harder they worked… I’m absolutely convinced that positive, personal reinforcement is the essence of effective leadership”. ~ Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy
I’ve been reading this book ever since I heard the captain speak at the ACSA Leadership Summit earlier this month. His leadership advice often sounds like common sense, yet is so often different from what we see and hear from so many leaders. I love this simple idea. The more you provide specific, positive feedback to staff members, the more they will strive to earn more of your feedback and praise.
“So leadership is, by its very nature, not just the purview of those with formal authority over others. One can also lead from a basis of expertise, ideas, and personality or character, and, in principle, these sources of influence are open to anyone. This means that leadership by its very nature is distributed.” ~Viviane Robinson, Student-Centered Leadership
This quote struck me because the broad definition of leadership and the potential for distributed leadership to already exist! I have read many books and articles about how leaders can practice distributive leadership through empowering others, but without this clear, articulated definition of the influences of leadership we all have the potential to use.