The principal I had worked under retired the same year that I left, and at the time, I made a list of some of the lessons about leadership that I had learned from watching him (Sig, did you know you were being watched?). But it is only now, two years later, that I've been able to see how the things he modeled in a school environment are also applicable to my life as a stay-at-home mom.
- Trust your people. Sig knew the strengths of his people. and he let us do what we did best. There was never any question in my mind that he trusted me as a teacher and expert in my field and that as long as I lived up to his trust in me, he would have my back in any situation. In the same way, I need to trust my kids to do what they can. It is so easy to try to micromanage my five-year-old, but when I recognize what she can do and let her do it, she will soar.
- Recognize your people's accomplishments. I will never forget the faculty meeting where Sig recognized me for a successful meeting I had had with representatives from the state department of education who wanted information about a new test we were using. It had been stressful getting ready for it, and he chose to recognize me for it with a "Gatorade" award for endurance. It was an encouragement that something I had taken on as part of my job was seen as something special by my boss. I need to do this for my kids, too. My daughter thrives on recognition of her accomplishments, from potty training to learning to do chores to taking pictures of her many art projects. "Look at me, Mommy!" is her plea for me to notice the wonderful things that she does everyday.
- Create an atmosphere of fun. Sig and the rest of his leadership team encouraged us to enjoy our work with faculty gatherings, theme days, and special events connected to teacher training days. It made it easier to come to work with a smile. I am trying to do this at home, too. It is so easy to get caught up with all I have to do and to put off my daughter's requests for a picnic or a tea party or a trip to the park, but those are the fun parts of childhood that she will remember and that nurture her sense of creativity. We've recently started a list of the fun things we want to invest our time in this summer - and I'm as excited as she is!
- Nurture your culture. Sig created a "Summit Culture" and a "Summit way" of doing things. It gave us pride in our school and in ourselves. At home I want to nurture this, too, by nurturing my children's pride in our family's values and our family story. And I especially want them to know the story of God's people, the story of redemption, and the culture that comes from that.
- Let your people know that you love them. I never doubted that Sig cared for his faculty and staff. He let us know in little and big ways, and it didn't matter what your education was or what your job was. If you worked for him, you mattered. At the end of the day, my kids need to know that I love them, no matter what else happened. If they are assured of that, everything else will fall into place.
Do you, or did you, work outside the home? What lessons from your job are you applying on the home front?