A Lesson From My Mentor: Listen. Then Listen. Then Listen Some More
One of my mentors became an administrator at a young age and continued to climb the career ladder to a central office position in a large school district. From my experiences in taking with and working with him, my biggest takeaway is:
Listen. Then listen. Then listen some more.
My mentor once told me “no administrator has ever been too visible.” He’s right, but after further review of what he is doing with that visibility, it’s clear he strives to learn as much as he can about what is happening in classrooms, hallways, and cafeterias by asking questions and genuinely listening to everyone he comes in contact with. His genuine listening involves focusing on the person he is talking with, summarizing what he has heard, asking any clarifying questions he may have, then offering a response. His interactions may take longer than some in our profession, but he has more information than most.
Note: This post is one in a series about key leadership lessons I have learned from my mentors. As I took time over the holidays to reflect on my work, the key relationships I have built and those who have made time to help me in my leadership journey were central to so much of what I do as a principal. My goal in publishing these lessons is to share my own reflections, celebrate my mentors (who will remain anonymous), and to encourage readers to thank their own mentors, or find new people to help them in their own professional journey. By no means am I a finished product, to those who mentor me, I thank you and ask that you continue to help me grow.