Leadership ain't for Everybody & It Almost Wasn't for Me
Matthew 7:7 says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Denzel Washington once said, "Be careful what you ask for because when you pray for rain, you have to deal with the mud as well."
Leadership ain’t for everybody and it almost wasn't for me! Two years ago, I was promoted out of the classroom and into an instructional coach role. A year after that, I was promoted to assistant principal. [Transparent Moment] Y’ALL… these have literally been the hardest & worst two years of my educational career (like to the point where I was researching alternative careers for educators).
A note to teachers,
DON’T RUSH TO LEAVE THAT CLASSROOM!
Ever since I stepped out, I’ve been begging to go back (I’d rather deal with my 30 students any day)! Now, don’t get me wrong the work isn’t hard at all. Not to toot my own horn, but I can make a master schedule, WHILE dealing with an angry parent, breaking up the fight in the cafeteria, helping Little Johnny tie his shoe, and still spending 80% of my day in classrooms growing teachers.
Well if it’s not the work, then what is it? I call it the “Two P’s”, PEOPLE & POLITICS!
PEOPLE – Y’all, these folks in education are RUTHLESS! I’m sitting here thinking that everybody wants to see these kids succeed! Mmmm, mmm, honey (in my Betty Wright voice). As a leader, you have to know how to “work” three types of people:
· Those above you – Be Mindful (that’s all I’m gone say… I don’t want to be called into the office… LOL)!
· Those on your level – Drake said it best, “That’s when they smile in my face, whole time they wanna take my place.” (I didn’t play sports, so this competition stuff is new to me)
· Those who you support – They love you… but you have to prove yourself before they listen to anything you have to say.
POLITICS – Y’all, my momma is TALEDA and my daddy is FRED SR. I’m a mix of all of those facial expressions, comebacks, noise talking, etc. I haven’t mastered the art of just “shutting up and smiling” yet!
So, as you can see, on top of all of the work that must be done, there is also “work” that must be done. And for a new leader, IT IS HARD! [Transparent Moment] I strive to be the best that I can be, especially at work. Teaching is my ministry.
This career took me from running the streets to owning a piece of the street,
from hooptie to BMW, from Mr. Smith to Dr. Smith (Coming May 2022)! [insert praise break] So, coming from the classroom and being celebrated for the great work I was doing to stepping into this new role and being told “you don’t have any people skills”, “you’re smart, but you’re too young”, “I could ruin your career today”, “you wouldn’t have this job without me”, “how’d you get promoted”, “the only reason you got the job is because you’re a man”, “you won’t make it as a leader”…
I literally slipped into a slight depression and didn’t know how to handle it all (and still learning)… BUT GOD!
I am coming out of year two and pressing my way into year three! And all I can say is “and we know that all things work together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
How do you stay the course? How do you keep going? What made you not quit?
I’m going to be honest; I didn’t start seeing the light until about two days ago. But I’ve learned a few things along the way:
1. Get you some friends or a support team that will tell you,
a. “What’s God has for you is for you” – Atkins
b. “Don’t let them people run over you, say what you gotta say” – Anders
c. “Your work speaks for itself! People are watching you!” – Stanberry
2. Find a great mentor
3. Create yourself a Praise & Worship playlist (my top songs are “Better Days” by Le’Andria Johnson and “What’s Coming is Better” by Deon Kipping)
4. Create yourself a Motivational playlist (my tops songs are “Get up 10” by Cardi B and “Win” by Tee Grizzley)
5. Never stop learning! Count everything as a teachable moment (good or bad)!
6. BE YOU!
7. Read “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz (Be impeccable with your word, Don’t take anything personal, Don't make assumptions, and Always do your best)
8. Always remember that if God brought you to it, he will bring you through it
9. Count your blessings!
10. “Your gifts will make room for you and bring you before great men.” – Proverbs 18:16