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Show Highlights

It’s not about outcomes, it’s about good judgment.
Immediately results in building consistency and trust with your team.
Batching tasks will maximize your time and focus. Stop switching and multitasking your to-do list.
A system and a process for principals to lean into your genius.
Alignment is key. How aligned are all the things that happen within your school?
Madeline Mortimore

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Read the Transcript here.

Do this ONE Thing To Build More Trust With Your Team

Daniel (00:03):
All right, today we’re talking about trust. I wanna share a story from a recent coaching call I had with one of my favorite principles in Northern California. He’s really thinking a lot about trust, about culture building and this kind of stuff, because he has just inherited the leadership of a large, comprehensive high school, Northern California, with almost 3000 students. We’re talking about trust quite a bit. How do I build it? How do I build it? Well, there’s a number of things you can do, but I want to share one thing that you can do. It’s not a microwave approach. It’s not gonna get you results immediately, but if you implement consistently over time, this method will work for you in terms of building trust with your team. Now, I explored trust a lot when I wrote my latest bestselling book, Mastermind, Unlocking Talent Within Every School Leader.

Daniel (00:57):
I came across some research by Zenger and Folkman, it’s out of 2019. Basically they said, trust boils down to three things. Positive relationships, so make sure you’re creating space and time to deposit and build relationships. Secondly, I had to make a good judgment. So not making the right decision All the time. I wanna be very clear about that. Good judgment is that people believe you have their best interests at heart, even when you make a decision. It doesn’t pan out the way that you want. The outcome isn’t what you want either and that’s an important leadership lesson to learn. You don’t control outcomes. You don’t control standardized test results. You don’t control attendance or discipline. You control inputs Creating the environment for these things to thrive and hopefully produce the outcomes that you want.

Daniel (01:48):
Finally, and this is the one thing I really want you to focus on. Consistency. Relationships, good judgment and consistency. Do what you say you’ll do. And that’s really where the insight was for this principal I was working with. I thought there was a lot of value in the coaching calls. I wanna share it with you here. If trust is super duper important to you, and you wanna build it in your culture, and we know that consistency is a big part of that, in doing what you say you’ll do, do you have a feedback loop? Have you built a system just where the things you commit to are identified and written down and shared in a transparent way across the organization? Do you have a way of following up? You have to model this as a leader.

Daniel (02:37):
I would invite my team to do this as well. Let me just give you a very easy tip. I’m gonna also teach this in the terms of a template that we created. When I asked the principal he brought up, “Hey, I wanna have more one-on-one time with my admin team, build their capacity, build our relationships,” so on and so forth. I think that’s a great investment of his time. One of the big ideas I’m gonna share with you here, I said to him, “Why don’t you batch those meetings together? He’s got four assistant principals. I asked for the ideal amount of time you wanna spend with them. 20 minutes would be sufficient, that’s 80 minutes for 4 people.

Daniel (03:24):
It’s almost an hour and a half. And so there you go. 90 minutes, that’s what batching is doing. Similar tasks all in a row so that you, you’re not multitasking, you’re not switch tasking. You are just focused on one thing. 90 minutes batch, boom, boom, boom. He does all his admin assistance and he can have even a little bit of margin there. I said, “Okay, well during these talks what’s important to you? What do you wanna make sure comes out?” We wanna check in personally, how’s life, how’s family, hobbies, interests, this kind of thing. Secondly, talking about goals. His team, like your school, probably a lot of people identify goals. How often, how frequently, how consistently are you checking in? How are these goals going? What are you excited about in terms of what you’ve achieved? Where are you stuck? Where can I help? So that’s the second part. Departmental work was something The APS oversaw different departments. How are those things going? School operations as well. The fifth part, which is the agreements part. After discussing all those issues, are there any next steps that need to happen? What can you agree to do and write that down? 20 minutes, those are five topics, four minutes each to check in the goals, the departmental work, school operations and agreements. And that’s average. You could go longer or shorter But that’s a template. That’s a tool that I saw forming right away. The thing is at the next meeting, every other week, you bring it to the table, so we agreed that this was gonna happen.

Daniel (05:04):
If you don’t already know, has it been done, How can I help? What’s getting in the way? Having those conversations and some language you can use so you don’t add a bunch of evaluation to it. And that gimme an update on what you agreed on two weeks ago. People can share and tell you where they’re at. I think that’s really cool. Here’s sort of high level too. Are you following me? The template, the tool that’s created, the check in, personal check in, goals, departmental work, school operations agreements. And then I said, because I saw it in his eyes he was going to run to Google, create the form or whatever, Canva, it doesn’t matter. I knew he was gonna create it. No, your admin assistant would love to help you out with this.

Daniel (05:52):
If you’re a school leader and you have an admin assistant, number one, I challenged him to tell his admin assistant the vision for these one-on-one meetings. Request that she makes the template, request that she schedules and batches those that you’re not touching the calendar. Request that in two weeks time, she creates a one pager or a brief synopsis of the agreement, a summary of what you talked about, and then new sheets for your four assistant principals, In this case, and put it in a folder for you. Or you could do it digitally, doesn’t matter. Maybe you even invite your admin assistant to those meetings. Now you could be fully there, fully present, the assistant can take notes based on what you’re talking about. You can go over ’em during the agreements part to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

Daniel (06:51):
What we’ve done is we’ve created a system and a process where this principal leans into his genius, developing his team and checking in, and the rest of the stuff happens on his behalf. Too many school leaders would do all that stuff. They would schedule with their APs, they would create the template for the one-on-one meetings, they would pull up the old meetings from the past, Read ’em over, get the synopsis of what was happening, and they’d reproduce a new one and print it out or have it online. The point is he needs to show up. His team could help make the rest happen. The cool thing about that delegation is building capacity. It’s building trust because we’re constantly checking in, what did you say you’ll do and by when? What’s the update? Given enough time, you will build great trust with your team.

Daniel (07:46):
Also, this builds more margin into his calendar. Many school leaders feel burnt out or overstressed. The research is clear on this. You don’t even have to look at research. You could examine your own experience. If you feel like I am pulled way too thin, I’m overworked, overstressed on the verge of burnout, I’m thinking of going to the assistant principalship. I’m thinking of going back to the classroom. I’m thinking of leaving education altogether. You have to do what’s right for you. I wanna say that I can help. On December 5th, we’re running a pretty epic challenge called the Maximize Your Margin Challenge. I’ve never done this before. Usually I create some video content, there’s some automated emails and a challenge step, and that’s worked and people have gotten value and they’ve gotten results and have grown.

Daniel (08:42):
But this year in moving into 2023, a big word that I’m thinking about a lot is alignment. There’s a lesson here too for you, Ruckus Maker. How aligned are all the things that happen within your school? I’m thinking in terms of better leaders, better schools, where do we create magic for leaders? We support, it’s in live experiences.It’s through networking, it’s through shaping the environment where leaders can share what they need to share without judgment or consequence to be authentic, to be vulnerable, to ask for help, to run ideas by a trusted group of advisors and get feedback to make their ideas better. These are the spaces where we thrive. Our challenge should look exactly like that. It shouldn’t be automated emails and kind of independent. Starting December 5th to maximize your Margin challenge begins, and it’s gonna be six live calls Monday through Friday.

Daniel (09:39):
Then we’ll have the weekend because we always rest on the weekend. Monday will be the sixth call. It’s really epic, too. But the point is, there’ll be the live coaching, we’ll help you get unstuck because there’s that time. There’ll be q and a, because we’ll be there. There’s tools to work through every idea that we teach, and there’s the community. It’ll be really fun to network and collaborate with each other. If you wanna run down real quick of what we’re talking about day one, we’re talking about goals. What are they in terms of creating more margin in our life as a leader, why is it important. Day two, we are gonna talk about things that get in the way that’s called the cleanup day. We’re gonna identify those big problems and do something about them.

Daniel (10:24):
Day three, we’re gonna create our life principles, our bumpers, our boundaries, our rules, whatever you wanna call it. But it’s gonna help you say “no” more often. If you could say “no” as a leader, you’re gonna create more margin in your life. Plus, people really respect rules and boundaries and this kind of stuff. But you have to do the hard work to actually identify what those are. You can’t just say like, no for no reason One of my boundaries, for example, or bumpers is that I’m only gonna do things that energize me. If I’m provided with an opportunity, I have to think, is this gonna gimme energy? And if not, then the answer’s pretty easy “No.” If it’s a conversation, I get pitched all the time on the podcast. I’m gonna get energized by that conversation.

Daniel (11:09):
If not, no. You see what I’m saying? Otherwise I eliminate, which I’m showing you by saying no or you delegate, that kind of thing. Day four, we’re gonna talk about an ideal week. Maybe it’s an ideal day. Maybe it’s an ideal morning And that’s gonna be awesome. That’s a free thing that we give away on the website anyways. But instead of doing six videos by yourself through the Ideal Week course, it’d be with me for our hour and a half. We’ll work on it. You could get questions answered. You could run questions by your peers. It’s gonna be a lot more powerful. Day five is just a leverage day. A lot of tips and tactics that have helped me be more productive and create more margin in my life and the weekend we’re gonna rest. Listen, Day six, this is epic.

Daniel (11:50):
I’m gonna show you dear school leader, dear Ruckus Maker, are you ready? Are you sitting down? I’m gonna show you how to eliminate your email. Not entirely because it’s a part of the way we work. But I can get you to 20 minutes a day or less, I promise. You gotta implement what I teach. I’m gonna show you exactly how to do that. I’ve done it for myself, I’ve done it for leaders that I support. I could do it for you. Best of all, this experience, totally free. If you go to BetterLeadersbetterschools.com/margin, you can join. We’re getting kicked off December 5th. Totally free challenge experience, a great way to move into 2023, and you could really finish the second half of the school year on your terms. All right, this is Danny, Chief Ruckus Maker at Better Leaders Better Schools. Bye for now and go make a ruckus.

Daniel (12:49):
Thanks for listening to the Better Leaders, better Schools Podcasts, ruckus Maker. If you have a question or would like to connect my email, [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter @Alienearbud. If the Better Leaders Better Schools Podcast is helping you grow as a school leader, then please help us serve more ruckus makers like you. You can subscribe, leave an honest rating and review or share on social media with your biggest takeaway from the episode, extra credit for tagging me on Twitter at @alienearbud, and using the hashtag #BLBS. Level Up your leadership at BetterLeadersBetterschools.com and talk to you next time. Until then,” class dismissed.”


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