I’ve been in a job transition for the last 7 months. It’s been fun and challenging and rewarding and complicated. I transitioned with someone who has a long history of excellence and who had a giving heart every step of the way. But I am ready to be through transition and into the work.
I’ve learned a bit about transition in the last six years. I’ve learned how to identify the big rocks in a job and how to build comprehensive lists to stay on top of things. I’ve learned how to network with the people who can help me grow and be successful. And I’ve learned that reflecting on my vision is essential.
But the most important thing I’ve learned from transitions, from life really, is that your team is your everything. It is the people in your life, and your relationships with those people, who make or break your success. Relationships are everything.
I am blessed to work with a group of people who make me better, and I always have been. In each of the schools I called home, I was surrounded by smart, caring, hard-working people who put students first and challenged each other to do our best work. At the district level, I am surrounded by people who think at high levels, question the status quo, and keep kids first. They have helped me and supported me in ways I cannot adequately define in words. I am lucky to have each of them in my life.
For the past few weeks, I have been able to connect with my new team. We have talked about who we want to be and how we can support students, teachers, administrators, and each other. It has been exciting. We’ve gotten to know each other a little better, and we’ve had the chance to talk about how we are the same and how we are different.
Another thing I have learned about teams is that it is the differences, not the similarities, that often make the strongest teams. I am not like some of the people I work with everyday. And I am grateful for that. Where I am weak, they are strong. We balance each other. A little rule-follower, a little rule-breaker. A little systems thinker, a little constant dreamer. A little big picture, a little in the weeds. The strongest teams have a little of it all, and they are better for it.
Leadership is about sharing a vision that all of those people can rally around. Leadership is about setting the path, equipping everyone with the needed resources and support to be successful, and allowing each person to use their strengths. How are you serving as a leader with your team?
People have asked me what my hopes are for this new year in this new role. I hope to be competent. I hope to maintain the structures and systems that have made our division strong and to challenge the status quo so we get even better. I hope to work collaboratively to establish our vision for teaching and learning. And most importantly, I hope to build a team.
Our people are our everything. As we start a new year, surround yourself with people who challenge you, push you, support you, and make you happy.