In leadership three developmental journeys are happening concurrently. At the same time, the leader, the team, and the organization must grow and change. Without any one of these paths, the forward momentum will stall out or the organization will eventually fail.
At Learn Forward™, we’re working to offer you tools and resources to support growth in each domain.
Here are 5 refreshing prompts to offer insights and meaningful reflection for the soul of the leader, team, and organization.
Let’s begin with the Soul of the Leader.
When Was the Last Time You Felt Like Yourself?
This week I heard the story of a highly successful woman who exclaimed to her therapist, “I finally am starting to feel like myself again!”
Of course, the response was, “When was the last time you felt this way?”
Shockingly, “Two decades ago.”
No judgment if this is you.
However, what if we didn’t wait so long? What if the pain, challenges, and ups and downs didn’t cause us to atrophy, calcify, or abandon ourselves for quite so long.
Prompt – When was the last time you felt like yourself? Describe the circumstances in as much detail as you can. How can you recreate this dynamic for yourself?
Wild Again and Free – Soul of the Leader
This poem from contemplative, facilitator, and spiritual guide, Dan Hines, is a prompt that speaks for itself.
Poem by Dan Hines and photo by Wilson Chen
Prompt – How are you like the cougar? How would your leadership benefit if you learned to be ‘wild again’ or ‘run’?
It’s been an unspeakably unusual four years. I have felt the paralysis and stuckness. Have you?
Is it possibly time to whisper, “be wild again.”
How Have You Changed? – Soul of the Leader
This question arose naturally within the context of a 1:1 coaching call.
With the intimacy and gentleness of all good connections, we began exploring how we’ve changed. In my own exploration, I can point to ways I’ve changed that I’m proud of and ways that feel tender and in need of healing.
Because this was so remarkably meaningful within the context of our coaching call, I continued forward with this reflection prompt. I asked my husband, “From your perspective, how have you seen me change over the past 5 years?”
What ensued was a really meaningful conversation about growth and some really deep affirmations. Additionally, it affirmed the next steps I’m taking in my professional and leadership journey.
Truly, I think that’s the power of this question. How you’ve changed is informing your way forward. What has happened has prepared you for what’s to come.
Prompt – How have you changed in the last five years? How does that inform your next steps in the next year?
Teamwork Reflection – Soul of the Team
This graphic organizer is a wonderful pictorial prompt from Patrick Lencioni’s work to help us reflect on the unfolding of our team.
Trust is at the heart of teamwork. I love these two quotes, along with this parallelogram combining a triangle and an inverted triangle of dysfunctions paired with leadership behaviours.
- Dysfunction #1: Absence of trust – Go first
- Dysfunction #2: Fear of conflict – Mine for conflict
- Dysfunction #3: Lack of commitment – Force clarity and closure
- Dysfunction #4: Avoiding accountability – Confront difficult issues
- Dysfunction #5: Inattention to results – Force on collective outcomes
While of course, this is cursory. The dysfunctions and corresponding leadership behaviours are terrific reflection points for our teams.
Prompt – What dysfunction do you see most often or what dysfunction of your team creates the most harm to your community? As the leader, journal how you might nudge your leadership practice toward the corresponding behaviour to solve that dysfunction.
When Do I Step Up into the Balcony? – Soul of the School
“Stepping into the Balcony” is my moniker for the leadership practice of taking stock of what’s happening in the big picture or assessing the overall system.
This system-level reflection exercise is really difficult when our “hair is always on fire,” which is my moniker for those of us who are always responding to the urgent and rarely considering the high level or strategic.
School leaders, we’re not great at stepping into the balcony.
However, the great news is we can improve.
What I want to focus on in this refreshing and meta prompt is when do we step into the balcony during the school year. What supports our practice? How do we ensure this is regular and consistent?
I know what helps me is my Full Focus Planner and the weekly review/preview. It reminds me of my 90-day plan and my priority objectives. If you’re interested in a leader’s toolkit for how to “Step Into the Balcony” you can find it here.
Today’s prompt – When do I step into the balcony? What supports this leadership practice? How can I ensure this is happening regularly and consistently?
In closing, leveraging the summer to reflect strategically on how your leadership, team, and school are growing and evolving is a power move.
For the sake of the children,