Dr. Chris Jones has been an educator in Massachusetts for 22 years. His experience in the classroom ranged from 8th – 11th grade working in an urban setting. A portion of this was spent opening a high school division for an expanding charter school. He has just finished his 14th year as a building administrator. Currently the Principal of Whitman-Hanson Regional High School in Whitman, Massachusetts, Chris is also the President-Elect of the Massachusetts State Administrators Association (MSAA). He is the author of SEEing to Lead, a book that provides strategies for how modern leaders can and must support, engage, and empower their teachers to elevate student success. Chris vlogs weekly and is also the host of the podcast SEEing to Lead as a way to amplify teachers’, students’, and leaders’ voices in an effort to improve education as a whole. His Just cause is to continuously improve the educational experience for all those involved by being purposeful, acting with integrity, and building character.
Chris is passionate about continuous improvement and the idea that success is not a destination, but a process. Chris is a teacher centered principal and his beliefs around the importance of a positive work environment, continuous growth, and a healthy family work-life integration can be seen in the presentations and workshops he has given for the Massachusetts School Administrators Association (MSAA), Massachusetts Computer Using Educators (MassCUE), Massachusetts Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (MASCD), the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP); and his participation in the Better Leaders Better Schools Mastermind group.
A finalist for the Massachusetts School Administrators Association’s Principal of the Year award and named the 2022 Massachusetts School Counselors Associaltion’s (MASCA) Administrator of the Year, Chris is described by his past Superintendent as being “…wholly invested in the success of the school…a creative problem-solver who is able to deliberate yet be decisive, be creative yet accountable…calm and clear-headed even under the most trying of times…has built a strong collaborative and collegial school culture…he is a positive influence on teachers, teaching, and learning.”
Chris’ education includes a BA from Bridgewater State University, an MA from Salem State University, and a Doctorate from Northeastern University. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his wife, Mary (Bella) and two boys, Tommy and Scotty.
Making A Ruckus On Campus
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Read the Transcript here.
Making A Ruckus On Campus
What would you consider irreplaceable when it comes to your leadership development? I asked that question to today’s guest, who is our previous guest from last week, Dr. Chris Jones. Last week, we told his story at Whitman Hanson High School and the cool things that he’s doing there. And today we’re gonna dive into a case study about his real life experience in the Mastermind. And he described that Mastermind experience as irreplaceable, the number one way that he grows his leadership skills. Now, for some of you, the Mastermind is this mysterious, ambiguous topic. You understand it’s a place you understand it’s a space where leaders get better. But how does that happen? What are some of those specific results leaders with our help are able to achieve? I’m really honored that Chris authentically shows up and gives a candid review of his experience. And so if you’ve ever wondered what is possible by joining the Mastermind today, you’ll find out, Hey, it’s Danny, chief Ruckus Maker at Better Leaders, Better Schools. I’m a principal development and retention expert, a bestselling author, and I host two of the world’s most downloaded podcasts. This show is for Ruckus Makers, which means you invest in your continuous growth, you challenge the status quo, and you design the future of school now. And we’ll be right back with the main conversation after some messages from our show sponsors.
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Even the most highly effective Ruckus Maker can be in all classrooms offering incredible feedback all the time. So what if teachers could gather their own feedback without relying on you, and not only their own feedback, but meaningful feedback that would improve their instruction? But check out the Teach FX app by visiting teachfx.com/betterleaders, and you could pilot their program today. Go to teachfx.com/betterleaders to see how, why do students struggle? I’d argue that they lack access to quality instruction, but think about it. That’s totally out of their control. What if there was something we could teach kids, then what if there was something in their control that would help them be successful? We’re successful in every class. And it’s not a magic pill or a f of your, you just have students internalize executive functioning skills, adventurous. Check out the new self-paced course, brought by our friends, organized teachers, and how to equip their students.
Executive functioning skills can be learned. That’s not organized/ go. That’s a big reason why I’ve been doing these case study episodes to make the mystery a little more practical to understand. Mastermind, it’s a bestselling book. It’s this thing that people go to. Danny started it and people seem to like it, but why? Why do it? So that’s really the question we’re trying to answer. Like, what’s the value? Why do you do it? And Doc Chris Jones is back for this. If you didn’t listen to last week’s episode, go back and check that out. We were with Doc and you know, he’s a current principal over at Whitman Hanssen high school, and he’s the author and host of a book and podcast of the same name, seeing the lead. And he’s done all this amazing stuff. He’s been in the Mastermind for more years than I can count, and I can only count up to three.
He’s been there we think in threes. That’s why I don’t go to four. It’s that way. Just blowing up my brain. But it’s super cool to have him here. He has been such a huge encouragement and amazing person to serve in the Mastermind. I’d love to invite him here and talk more about his experience. So Doc, welcome to the show.
New Speaker (04:32):
I’m so happy you invited me. Thank you for all those nice things you said. I appreciate them. I appreciate you and most importantly, when you told me about this, I appreciate what being part of the Mastermind has done for me. I’m excited to talk about it.
Can you talk to me about life and leadership before you joined the Mastermind? What was that like for you?
Dr Chris (04:58):
Oh, life and leadership. Well, it was definitely different than it is now because it was confined. It was constrained. It was in a box and it was about regulatory stuff and required stuff and checking off this box and making sure that that’s happening the way it’s supposed to. And it never really gave time to stop and think about how things could and should be because it was too much and too busy about this is the way things are. And if you wanna be seen as successful, if you want to make any progress, then you need to do it this way because that’s the formula we have for you. So that really sounds fun, doesn’t it? That’s why we got into administration.
Exactly. For sure. And what would you identify as one of the biggest challenges or struggles you had around school leadership prior to the Mastermind? And maybe it was the boxes and that kind of thing, but I don’t know if there’s something more practical.
Dr Chris (05:55):
No, it was more, it was, it was more, let’s get deep for a second. It was the idea of the boxes. Yes. And the time management and the interpersonal relationships and so forth. But the culture was big. But the biggest probably was how I viewed myself as a leader and how I viewed myself where I was and where I wanted to be because I wasn’t in the best place that I thought I could be. But I couldn’t see myself in a better place because I knew that I wanted to be more, I knew that I wanted to have a larger impact, but I didn’t know how to, and I didn’t know how to get that done because I was in that box and I felt constrained. And that has to do with my history of education and going through education. But I didn’t have that site for myself. So it wasn’t interpersonal, it was intrapersonal. And I had to do some work to unlock myself before I could ever think of unlocking others and having an impact on their lives or education as a whole.
Was there a moment that you realized it, or was it sort of just this thing that was on a slow boil up until it was like I needed to do something.
Dr Chris (07:14):
That’s a fantastic question. You’re known for those. I guess it was a slow boil. If we had to define it as anything because it was more of a nagging thing, like I knew and it was just a lack of fulfillment. And when you stop to see if you’re fulfilled, whenever you stop and say, Hey, am I living the best life I can? Am I happy more days than not? Am I proud of what I’m doing? Does my family look at me and say, I’m proud of what you’re doing? It was more of that nagging feeling like, I can do better. I just don’t know how to get there and how to do that. Which is one of the things that led me to that fateful, we’ll call it workshop in 2017, not that I’ve given a hint how many years I’ve been at the master.
Daniel (08:02):Why don’t you bring us to that moment.
Dr Chris (08:03):
We met in 2017. Was that Philly or was it somewhere else? I had never heard of this guy Danny Bauer before, but the title of the workshop that really got me interested, it’s how to get a year’s worth of work done in 12 weeks. And man, that’s something I need to do because if I could free that up right, more time with my family. I could make sure I got all my boxes checked and do all that, and I could set goals and finish my goals and life would be great. So I still have that finite vision where I could go and what I could do. And so doing that would allow me to focus on maybe some other things that I wanted to focus on. So I went to this workshop that you give and you had your Excel sheets out and everything. And it was cool. It was really fantastic. But you mentioned this thing called the Mastermind, and it was after that you sent me a follow-up email and then I called you and we talked for a while about the opportunity, and I thought about it, and then it wasn’t too long after. That conference was in the third week of July, and I think I joined in October or November, and it just took off from there. I still remember the first book we read. It was just such, it was such an impactful change in how, not just what kind of leader I was and could be, but how I could be that way and how I could make a difference in education without worrying about checking the boxes, with ignoring the lines. I don’t want to start quoting things like beautiful constraints and stuff like that, but it gave me on a deeper sense what could be, and then afforded me the tools on how to get there.
Daniel (09:45):Why was that important to you?
Dr Chris (09:46):
That is a heck of a question that was important to me because we can talk about what we wanna do all day long. We can dream about how we want things, but until we actually know how to get there, and that could be, don’t get me wrong, we don’t need a perfect map. That could be the old sure, roughly drawn pirates map that doesn’t resemble anything in the landscape where the X is. But if we have an idea how to get there enough to get us taking that first step and then figuring out along the way and giving us the confidence that yes, I know that there’s pushback. I know that this is difficult and I know that this isn’t the norm, but this is working. And you take another step. Oh, wow, yeah. That does work. Then you take another step and you’re like, yeah, this is, I really do think this is good stuff. And you just build. And that’s why I think it was important because it got me started and showed me that there is a map out there and that map is one that I need to create myself.
You create it yourself. That’s powerful. I try to say and remind school leaders how powerful they are. I adopted this idea from a master coach named Rich Litvin, but we both say we help powerful people remember how powerful they are. So do you draw on the map? I think I try to create the conditions where you can make that realization and then connect you to others that wanna draw the map with you. And that’s a fun space to be in. So you heard about this group in July. You ended up joining October, November. What was your biggest fear or reservation about joining this group? The mastermind?
New Speaker (11:26):
That it wouldn’t be worth the investment of time that I had other stuff. I was busy, but for some reason, something about you and talking about what it clicked with me. One of the things about me that I know about myself is I can sit in a room with people and when we start talking is when I really get going. I’ve always been, I’ve always been slow to like, and I equate Steven taking essay exams throughout school, throughout my school career. I was the person sitting there, maybe drawing the concept map. Usually not an outline. Rarely everybody else is writing. And I’m sitting there in front of the blank paper. But about 20 minutes in, after I’ve collected my thoughts, man, did I fly? And then I’d write till the very end. It just sometimes takes me that spark to get going. And you can notice that in podcast interviews too, amazingly enough. But it just takes that spark to get me going. And then I can’t stop because everything starts to fire. I used to write a curriculum with a team teacher and weave a deal. We would go and we’d write in a coffee shop and I’d buy her a donut with a powdered donut and it was filled with sugar. And well, I’d buy her coffee and she would start talking to me about this curriculum and she would type while I talked because I’d get to talking and everything and I’d say stuff. And then after, what did you just say there? I can’t remember. It’s done. But if you get in the zone, you get focused on it. And that’s the way I’ve always been. So the idea of just getting started and I didn’t want this, I didn’t want this to be a waste of time.And I figured if I’m sitting with people online, with you online and we get to talking and I’m taking notes, how can I not get some value out of it? So I’ll try it for a little while. Why not
Daniel (13:04):Absolutely. And can you tell me about the moment you decided to join the Mastermind?
Dr Chris (13:22):The moment I decided to join, it was right after our phone call. It was just a matter of, okay, let me make sure I can do the day and time. ’cause You offered me different days and different times. Let me talk to my wife to make sure that that worked for our schedule, the day and time, because I had just, wow. I say just, it wasn’t all that just, it was maybe five years before that I had changed jobs so I could be home more because I had a young family. I had the two young boys, and I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t sliding back into something and refilling up that calendar when I made that move to lighten it up a little bit. So I got off the phone with you, I said, man, this, this sounds like something I wanna do. Checked with my wife, got the time, called you back and confirmed and was good to go. And then I got my first book. After the first exercise and my first book, I was hooked. So yeah, maybe talk about that. What was it like when you first started using, I guess, using or becoming a participant right. Or a member of the Mastermind? It was empowering. It was, here’s a group of like-minded people that know that there’s more to be and they want to be more. And they were willing to be honest with me, not in a critical way, not in a, I’m gonna show you where your flaws are so I can feel a little bit about myself, whether or not keep you down, but really in a supportive way. And then, there was one time, and I was, I was shy to do this at first, but then there, I remember reaching out to a member and texting the member Demetrius, shout out to Demetrius. He’s, he’s awesome. Yeah. Shout out to Demetrius, he’s the best. Yeah. Reaching out to him and just talking with him about some standards based grading stuff, and instantly he put me in touch with people to talk to ’em. He sent me stuff. Just such a supportive group. And the fact that I could bring a concern I’m having and not just a concern. And here’s a really cool part about it. I could bring a concern. I have something I’m struggling with in this group, and I get private schools, Catholic schools, charter schools, public schools, different levels of schools, and different countries. I get those perspectives. There’s gonna be all kinds of things I haven’t thought of.
Dr Chris (15:42):
And that it’s done in a caring way and in a supportive way. And it’s not necessarily I’m gonna walk out with an answer, but boy, it could get me thinking, get my wheels trained about an answer. I can’t tell you how many times Danny, after the mastermind ends, that I’m still in my office at my desk, not at work, but at home, at my desk. And I’m writing notes and thoughts that I’ve had about things that I’ve heard during the Mastermind because it just fires me up so much. But then the hot seat piece as well, the idea that what if I’ve got an idea that I want to test and they have no problem kind of poking holes or saying, well, have you thought about this? Oh, what about this? And get me thinking about all those different pieces that look like they are gonna pop up. There’s gonna be that person in the, in the faculty meeting or in the hallway that raises their hand from the back and says, if you thought about this, why this won’t work, you know? And to be able to have a matter of fact, I have an answer for that. Yeah. You know, so it’s just, just doing that and everybody passing the mic, sharing the microphone with everybody else to give their input or to ask questions. Mm-Hmm.
Why is being in a space with other driven innovative leaders invested in getting better and better every day? Like, why does that matter to you?
Dr Chris (17:29):
Because they’re gonna help you get better. Nobody dragging the group down. They’re not saying, ah, that won’t work. You’ve been there in those groups, where you say something, I sat at a table, Danny, and this was after I was the mastermind. There have been some very clear points in my life where things have just become clear that I’m on the right path. And the idea of something with the Mastermind, there are a couple times where it’s been just really clear about the mastermind and this is the place to be where I sat down at a table one time and people were coming and sitting there with different administrators and all that. And one person came down and sat and we’d say, hi, and how are you doing? Now, this is at a meeting for a bunch of administrators. They sit down and for a minute straight, and I know it was a minute because I looked at my watch a minute straight. This person told us everything that sucked about life, his school education, no answers, just, this is awful because these people are bad and these people are bad and this and that. And none of it was his issue. It was everybody else that had a problem. And so he went on for a minute and we all kinda looked at each other and it was uncomfortable for everybody. And then somebody else said, oh, well we’ve got this. And so we started talking about something else, and then the next thing outta his mouth was to say why something else was not good that somebody had said.And I just thought to myself, I sat there and I’m like, really? How can you be in any room where anything gets done? How can anybody have you as part of a group where they can feel for safe enough, but where they can feel that they have the ability within themselves to make meaningful change if you, you’re ripping it down all the time, because we do things and we make changes, and we have ideas that makes them, if you want ideas that sink like a stone to the bottom of the ocean, come to me. I got about five, seven a day. But going to the Mastermind, we all have ideas that are, that aren’t gonna work or that are no good, but we’re with a group of people that support us in the generation of those ideas and in the desire to create those ideas and iterate them so that they become something better that will work, that will make lasting improvements to education.
Daniel (19:42):What have been some of the most helpful lessons or takeaways from the mastermind?
Dr Chris (19:47):
This one’s gotta be funny. This one’s, this one’s recent. O And I don’t know if they said this, but I think I might’ve said this after getting the feedback from them, because they are a supportive group where I just had to put on my big boy pants, and it was where I just had to actually step up and say what I was thinking and act in a way that I would normally act. But for some reason, I was hindering myself in holding back. And it had to do with having a conversation about some things that I didn’t agree with that were going on in leadership around me. So that was very helpful because I had that conversation. It seems to have straightened itself out a little bit. Another one was in addressing a very negative staff member that was a leader on staff that I needed to address because it was just very pervasive, the way this individual was holding back other staff members and students and damaging students. And they gave me, they gave me ideas on how to approach that in a way, because I had my way, man, and I was, I was gonna let ’em know. And they said, well, have you thought about this? And maybe depersonalize it a little bit and, and so forth. So they’ve helped me with relational pieces. They’ve cheered me on when I’m getting a lot of flack for controversial decisions that I make to make changes. And at the same time and saying, that’s all right. You’re gonna make it through. It’s good. It’s a good change. You might have wanted to do this if you thought about maybe trying this too, to mitigate a little bit of the kickback to help me realize that, yeah, I could have done things better. So it’s all something that’s really important. I try to teach my kids, my personal kids, but the whole idea of when you’re pointing at somebody or something and you’re always pointing at something, three fingers are pointing back at you if you flip your hand over and look at your hand.
So it’s the idea of taking responsibility for your role in the current situation that you exist in. And I think the mastermind, the group of people I’m with really help with that because boy, they cheer us on when we’re being successful and when we need that support. But they are also honest when we really need to step up and be part of the solution that we’re hoping to have. So what does that, I guess, greater self responsibility allow you to do? Greater self responsibility allowed me to do well, so let’s bring it back to the map thing and, and making our own map. It’s allowed me to have more self-confidence in the map that I’m drawing moving forward. I’m responsible ultimately for the role I play in making changes at my school for the impact that I have on education, because I’m a firm believer that education has to change. It’s changing a little bit in some areas, but we’ve got a long way to go and I have a responsibility to do that. I’m in a position where I can help make that happen. And if I’m sitting there talking about it and not doing anything about it, well, it’s, it’s my fault. So I have to take responsibility for what I’m talking about. And I think they’ve, they’ve helped me with that, and they’ve helped me realize that one from the books that we read and unpack, and two, because of the feedback they give me. And like I said, it’s straightforward feedback that you get, it doesn’t always feel great, but, and this might be, this might be a spinoff a little bit, but there’s such an environment and culture within the mindset that it is super easy to keep an open mind to constructive criticism.
I think about where my mindset’s at when I’m receiving criticism from a teacher, from a colleague, from higher ups than me, and how much more difficult it is for me to get into that open mind space and stay there so that I can be receptive to it and see where that criticism’s coming from and see where my role in that is than it is when I show up to the Mastermind. When I show up to the Mastermind wide open, it’s easy because I know that they’ve got my best interest in mind. Right? The Better Leaders, Better Schools podcast is proudly sponsored by Harvard’s Certificate in School Management and Leadership. I know many mastermind members and many Ruckus Makers who listen to this show that have gone through the program and have loved the experience, but don’t just take it from me. Let’s hear how some of the Harvard faculty describe the impact in their heart. For this program. Leadership is joyful work, empowering others to do their best work. Principals do that with teachers and teachers do that with students. And empowering others to educate themselves or to be educated is just one of the most important things we can do in this world building. We’re building people, we’re building the next generation of leaders and educators. Learn More about the program and apply at Better Leaders, better schools.com/harvard. In post pandemic classrooms, student talk is crucial, and when classrooms come alive with conversation teachers and students both Thrive, Teach FX helps teachers make it happen. The Teach FX instructional coaching app provides insights into student talk, effective questions and classroom conversation quality. Teach FX professional development compliments the app and empowers teachers with best practices for generating meaningful student discourse. Teachers using Teach FX increase their student talk by an average of 40%. Imagine that 40% more ownership over the class by students. Ruckus Makers can pilot Teach FX with their teachers. Visit teachfx.com/better eaders to learn how that’s teachfx.com/betterleaders.
As students progress through their K12 experience, schoolwork only gets harder and more complex. Yet at the same time, students are asked to be more independent in their learning. Young people struggling with executive functioning skills will fall further and further behind the pandemic. Let’s be real. It’s only made things worse. The remedy is found in equipping students with executive functioning skills. Our friends at Organized Binder have released a new self-paced course and it teaches you how to teach these executive functioning skills and set up your students for success. Learn [email protected]/go and start setting up your students for success today. Again, that’s [email protected] / go. What surprised you most about the Mastermind? I was just thinking about this the other day. How much you laugh, I’m serious. How much of an impact it has on me both professionally and personally in a way that I don’t realize until it’s gone.
I had some issues come up in my personal life that kind of kept me away from the Mastermind just a little while, and I always wanted to get back. And then things kind of get in the way and we start to make excuses. It’s always easy to make an excuse. And so I made a few excuses, but then other things came up and like real, real items that kept me away in my personal life. But before I knew it, I had missed quite a while, and then I got back for a couple and then I missed quite a while again. And then I got back and now I’m a regular participant. But those two time periods that I missed there was that sense of missing something like all my cylinders weren’t firing and there was something missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it.
I wasn’t sticking to my ideal week planning. I was slacking off on my morning routine and I didn’t feel as productive at work. And of course I had an excuse for all of this, but we know, we know how we feel about excuses. And until I got back into the Mastermind on a regular basis, because I would drop in and out but until I got back in on a regular basis, I just fell off. I didn’t feel as productive and it was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I returned to regular attendance and I was just talking about this the other day. I was like I really feel like I’m really getting back on the ball and things are starting to fire and things are starting to go, and I couldn’t put my finger on any of it.
But being a person who likes to look at facts and items that control groups and things like that, looking at that, there’s one thing that was present then missing and then present to you, and that was the Mastermind. So how, how did you overcome, I guess, that challenge of being disconnected for a while and then reconnecting? Well, here’s the hardheaded part of Doc. I looked at myself and I said, just do it. Just do it. I don’t care what’s in the way, just do it. And I I made it a priority. I talk a lot about priorities and I hope to model the idea of making priorities and commitment to my sons. And so I just looked at myself and I said you talk about this stuff and you usually normally always do it, but you’ve gotten into this slump somehow. You’ve had, like I said, some of these things come up in your personal life, but you know what, like, what are you doing? Just show up. So I showed up and it was like, I don’t wanna get too dramatic, but it’s like that nice cold drink of water after you’ve been in a hundred degree weather walking for a long time, you know what I mean? I showed up that first time. I was like, yeah. And then of course, you know that that bad little voice in your head, oh, you’ve got this to do, you’ve got this to do next Wednesday night this or that and the other thing. And I said, Nope, nope, just show up. And I showed up. I was like, yeah. And then it just got easier and back in the habit. Awesome.
Can you remember the first big win you got within the Mastermind? Or a moment you realized, wow, this is really working for me?
New Speaker (30:19):
Might have been a combination of things. One, you know what, I’m gonna draw a line through time here. Just the idea of the lasting teachings of the Mastermind in that first book that I’ve referenced a couple times. So I guess I gotta give him a shout out. See, on the third time you have to talk to them, you gotta say the author and give him a shout out. It’s Leadership, step by Step by Josh Ick. In that book, he talks about how to talk to people to help yourself improve. And he, it’s very formulaic and he has a formula for it. And so I started playing around with it and trying it, and I did that to an individual to find out how I could become somebody that would be deserving of a nomination and possibly an award of, at first it was the National Digital Principle of the year, and I became a finalist. I followed him, he was a digital principle of the year, and I became a finalist. And I truly, that’s when I truly saw that. And, and I talked to the people in Mastermind about this, but this is years ago, I truly saw that it’s not about being named the Digital Principle of the Year because I said this as part of the formula at first, but I, that I realized it, it’s about the journey and doing what I can to improve so that I would be deserving of Digital Principle of the year. And then when I didn’t win, ’cause you know, you become a finalist and it comes out and it’s known. And she’s like, oh and when I didn’t win , I turned around and looked back at who I was when I first had that idea and who I was and what I was doing as a leader at that point in time now.
And I had improved so much. And it was the idea of what the Mastermind did for me as far as putting your ideas into action and then giving you ideas as to how you could do that. And the tie through time pieces. Just earlier this year, my son had a goal and I taught my son that formulaic piece. And he didn’t hit that particular goal. He did the same thing. He went and talked to somebody that had something that he wanted. He didn’t, he didn’t reach that goal. And I talked to him afterwards. I was like, Hey buddy, you know you. How are you feeling? You okay? You didn’t, you didn’t get that. And he said, that’s right. I learned a lot from it. And it goosebumps a little bit because he, he directly benefited from my experience and my benefit being in the Mastermind with that type of, those type of people that help you step back and realize what you’re doing and how much you’ve changed just by the process of being there and taking action.
Daniel (32:56):What do you think was the biggest, most exciting result you’ve achieved?
Dr Chris (33:00):Well, I mean, first of all, we’ve talked about this before and I attribute just about everything I’ve done to mastermind experiences and what the Mastermind is talking the greatest result I’ve achieved. Well, if we’re, if we’re talking just tangible results. Physical results, it would probably have to be the Massachusetts Counseling Association’s Administrator of the Year. That’s for a number of reasons. But the biggest one is I sometimes feel as if my, the biggest area I need work in is empathy. I think I have a lot of, I think I have a lot of growing I can do in that area, and it’s such an important area. And sometimes I struggle with it. Like I don’t, I just don’t understand why they’re not doing this .And then I have to step back and say, usually it, the behest of the other members of the Mastermind, I have to step back and say, well, maybe they’re looking at it this way,, maybe they feel this way. So that was big for me to receive from the Counselors Association to think about that the, the school counselors and adjustment counselors saw it, saw me as a person that fit that bill for them as somebody that cared about students enough that really saw it or got it with students’ emotional wellbeing that they wanted to bestow that title upon me. But the greatest, I think the, one of the, one of the greatest things is just the type of leader I am now and the type of leader that I plan to be in the future, and am quite comfortable with how to get there compared to the leader I was when I first took the helm as a principal from that moment of, yeah, man, I’ve been waiting for this. I got this too. Whoa, this pool really is deep and sorter out and trying to figure it out too feeling confident and, and now knowing where I want to be to the point that I have the ability to dream about what I can’t even imagine the type of leader I can be and set my sights on getting there in a realistic way.
Well, you have a hard time imagining it, but can you try to describe a bit about that future leader and what, what you’d like to see come to fruition?
Dr Chris (35:23):
I would like to be a leader in which I can facilitate change in the educational system where the community I serve is not always comfortable with it, but they trust me and they trust that we are headed in the right direction through clear messaging that it’ll be okay. It might not be okay now, but it’ll be okay, and the process will be okay, but the outcome will be much better than where they are now. And I want to be the type of, I wanna be the type of leader that people come to me and are open about, I need to get better, and how can you support me in doing that to not get better because I’m not good, but to get better because I too now realize that we can all be just a little better and being better is where it’s at. But that only comes through growing pains. They call ’em growing pains for a reason. It’s not always comfortable. And the only time you do grow is when you’re uncomfortable. But I want to be the type of leader that leads a building or a district, a community, whatever you wanna call it.
My, the, the largest impact I can possibly have. But it’s a community of belonging, and there’s a positive culture that supports all others in getting to their very best, no matter where their starting point is, no matter where their ending point is, if they’re giving their maximum effort that they can become their best, what advice would you have somebody who is in a similar situation as you before the Mastermind, figure out what’s gonna make you grow and get there? Because like I said, there was always that nagging, and I can’t tell somebody that I know what that nagging is, or I know it feels this way. I do know that there’s that nagging, though I know that we all have voices, and our job is to smash out the negative ones to reinforce the positive ones, but we never talk about those neutral ones. What if voices are, is this really what I’m doing? Is this really what I wanna be doing? My advice to you is to figure out how to answer that question in a manner that pushes it to either positive or negative, because you can deal with positive or negative. If it’s negative, you get rid of it or you make changes. If it’s positive, then you do more of it. But until you know that it’s positive or negative and it’s just sitting there, it’s gonna keep nagging at you. So if you’re in that position where you’ve got that nagging voice, find other people, find a mentor, find a group of people that can help you figure out what that nagging is, and then act on it. How would you describe your mastermind experience in a word or a phrase? Oh, . One word. You’re hitting me. Where it could be a phrase as well, it could be a phrase.
Daniel (38:24):If I say, you know me, I say a phrase, we’re gonna have a paragraph on our hands and do a word.
Dr Chris (38:28):
My mastermind experience in one word, I had it and I lost it because I then I tried to make it into a sentence. Being in the Mastermind is an essential experience to being the best leader I can possibly be and impact the most people in a positive fashion. It’s irreplaceable in any type of leadership development.
Thanks, doc. This conversation’s been great. Is there anything else you’d like to share? No. Thank you for all you do. Your impact with leaders such as myself. I know you talk about how the Ripple Effect has had such an impact on so many educators and students around the world.
Thanks for listening to The Better Leaders, Better Schools podcast Ruckus Maker. If you have a question or would like to connect my email, Daniel@BetterLeadersBetter schools.com or hit me up on Twitter at @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 alien earbud, 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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