The annual school superintendent hunting season is open, and as usual, about a dozen cities are jockeying to woo an ever-shrinking pool of qualified candidates for a demanding job that requires one part managerial skills, one part political savvy and one part education-policy acumen for a tenure that, on average, lasts barely more than three years.
To be sure, big-city school superintendents are paid handsomely. In 2014, the salaries of superintendents at cities that are part of the Council for the Great City Schools ranged from $99,000 to $339,000, in addition to platinum health care, pensions, life insurance and other related benefits. Most superintendents of the biggest school districts clear $300,000 easily, with the job of helming New York City schools drawing upward of $500,000.
“Anybody who gets into this knows full well that the demands are extremely high,” Casserly says. “The context in which you do this job now is probably more difficult now than it’s ever been. It does give some people pause.”
My note: what about the quest for consensus? A former library director claimed as foremost goal to improve the work of the librarians – consensus. To the point, when I had to write the library director: consensus in this library means the codification of mediocrity.
A recent study published in Applied Psychology has now confirmed that a collaborative work environment can make top performers–the innovators and hard-workers–feel miserable and socially isolated.
The problem is that rather than seeing a top performer as a role models, mediocre employees tend to see them as threats, either to their own position in the company or to their own feelings of self-worth.
Rather than improving their own performance, mediocre employees socially isolate top performers, spread nasty rumors about them, and either sabotage, or attempt to steal credit for, the top performers’ work. As the study put it: “Cooperative contexts proved socially disadvantageous for high performers.”
This is not to say that teamwork is a bad thing, per se. Indeed, most complex projects require a team to successfully complete. For teams to be effective, though, they need leaders who can swiftly squelch any attempt to isolate or denigrate a top performer.
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Passive-aggressive behavior is frustrating for both parties involved. It’s unproductive and it makes you and others become less trusted in the workplace.
My best friend recently brought this phrase to my attention. As my friend pointed out, whenever someone tells you that everything is “fine,” that always means the opposite. It turns out this is pretty spot-on. Signe Whitson L.S.W. states in Psychology Today that the “passive aggressive person uses phrases like ‘Fine’ in order to express anger indirectly and to shut down direct, emotionally honest communication.”
Actually, you do have worries. Christine Schoenwald elaborates in Thought Catalog that “This translates to ‘I’m saying no worries but what I actually mean is screw you. I won’t say what I’m really feeling but will hold it against you until I explode.'”
‘If you really want to.’
This may appear to be accommodating at first, but don’t be fooled. Whenever you tell someone, or someone tells you, this phrase, you’re actually being noncommittal. It may sound as if you’re going along with the plan, but inside you’re not all that thrilled — but you just don’t know how to communicate those feelings, or you may thing that the other person will be mad.
‘Thanks in advance.’
I’m horrible at this one, and it’s something I’m working on each day. It’s another phrase that may appear innocent at first. But it pretty much means that you’re expecting them to do whatever it is you’re asking and they pretty much have to do it. This damages your relationship with this person.
‘I was surprised/confused/curious about …’
When you hear this or see the text you can be certain it is used to disguise criticism, as opposed to be being upfront. Jennifer Winter recalls on The Muse the time she had a colleague who used phrases like this as “an attempt to soften the blow.” Winter, however, “took it as a stab in the back because my boss was in attendance — and that feeling led me to promptly ignore her feedback.”
‘I’m not mad.’
This one destroyed my relationship with my ex-wife. I never expressed how I truly felt. I’ve now learned to voice my opinions openly and be honest with my spouse. It’s the same in the workplace. Yes. This person is livid. They’re just not being honest with you. I find that whenever I use this phrase I don’t feel as if I can be honest with the person. Learn to express how you feel.
I once had a disagreement with a friend that took place over text messaging. When they dropped the ‘whatever’ response I almost went through the roof. It was infuriating because I knew that they did care — they just didn’t want to keep that discussion going. Yes this person is mad, and now you are too. It’s not helping.
How can a two-letter word pack such a punch? Because most of the time it’s followed by text that either is awkward or shows their agitation. For example, “So … are we going to the movies tonight?” or “So … did you get my email?” The person on the other side is clearly agitated that you haven’t responded yet. And that’s a problem when you honestly haven’t had a chance to get back to the person.
Or, it could be the beginning of an uncomfortable conversation; the person just does not know how to come out and say it. When someone says, “So …” to me, and then that weird pause, I have the almost irresistible desire to say, “So … what?” And make an exit. This can even be expressed in the content marketing you put up on your website.
You see this text when someone is asking you for an unreasonable request, like, “Just wondering if you were in the city tomorrow and could pick up my brother for the train station?” Even if you were in the city, the train station could be nowhere close to where you’re at. In other words, this person knows he or she shouldn’t be asking you for this favor but will ask anyway. Keep in mind that some shy people may use this question when asking if you want to go somewhere or do something with them. Like, “I was just wondering if you would like to go to the movies with me?”
‘I was only joking.’
Sarcasm is on the most common manifestations of passive aggressiveness. If this person makes a comment that upsets you and this is what follows, then you know it wasn’t a joke at all. The person meant what was said but is backing away to cover up his or her true feelings. This is an especially damaging phrase when used in a relationship or (often) in front of other people, as a put-down.
‘Hope it’s worth it.’
This phrase should be rather obvious. The person you’re communicating with clearly doesn’t want you to do something but is aware that you will do so anyway. Instead of expressing concern, the person will leave with this passive-aggressive text and stew until it become a major issue. This person will also beg you to discuss it later so he or she can use the phrase again on you. It’s a shaming phrase.
In most cases I find this a pretty harmless phrase. Asking for someone’s thoughts on dinner, etc. But this phrase can also be used a way to tell someone that he or she screwed up. “Your behavior has been subpar at work, your thoughts?” or “I wasn’t that happy with how this assignment turned out, your thoughts?” Both of these are passive-aggressive and damage your relationship with the person.
Your thoughts … on this article? What other phrases do you find yourself or others using that are passive-aggressive? I’m not mad, just tell me.
1. They have self- awareness. Emotionally intelligent leaders understand their own emotions and know how to manage them. They don’t speak out of frustration or anger; they control their emotions and wait to speak up until their feelings have settled and they have processed their thoughts. They don’t react in the heat of the moment but wait to respond.
2. They respond to criticism and feedback. Every leader faces feedback, some of it negative. Emotionally intelligent leaders don’t become defensive or take it personally. They listen, process, and genuinely consider other points of view, and because they’re always looking to improve, they know how to accept sincere critiques.
3. They know how to generate self-confidence. Emotionally intelligent leaders share a healthy dose of confidence but never cross the line into arrogance. When they don’t understand something, they ask open-ended questions that aim to gather information, not challenge or argue. They know how to give and take in a way that generates confidence.
4. They know the importance of checking their ego.Leaders who have to demonstrate their own importance or value are not yet connected to true leadership or emotional intelligence. Those who are know how to speak and act out of concern of others. They don’t always have to be the center of attention, and they would never take credit for the work of others. Secure in their own abilities, they’re generous and gracious to others.
5. They know how to embody empathy. Leaders with emotional intelligence can put themselves in others’ shoes. They listen with genuine interest and attention and make it a point to understand, then give back in a way that benefits themselves and others. They know how to create win-win situations.
6. They know how to engage with empowerment. The best leaders–the ones with the highest EQs–make it their mission to believe in others and empower them to believe in themselves. Instead of focusing on themselves they know it’s the power of the people that makes leadership successful, so that’s where they focus their efforts.
While the hybrid roles that teachers play at teacher-powered schoolsmay seem like a lot of work, they give teachers the power to decide what programs, textbooks, software, etc., should or should not be used in order to make space for the community’s vision. And when teachers decide together on the vision and strategy to reach all students, they are often more invested and excited by the change they are creating from within.
Some of the best available examples of how to improve teacher quality and promote teacher leadership lie in models offered by other high-performing places, like Finland and Singapore.
Seven qualities must be in place.
A vision and strategy for teacher leadership, “with stated goals and clear images of tasks to be done, must be in place.” Teachers must feel part of creating this vision in order to buy in.
A supportive administration. “Principals must be willing to share power with teachers and must have the skills to cultivate them as leaders,” most educational leadership programs focus on supervising teachers, not supporting them as leaders.
There need to be appropriate human and fiscal resources.
Work structures that enable authentic collaboration are crucial. While more resources help on this point, there are creative ways to stretch limited dollars.
Supportive social norms and working relationships are key to teacher leadership. “All too often, policymakers develop incentives to motivate teachers and administrators,” . “Instead, policies and programs should be in place to value teachers spreading their expertise to one another, allowing teaching to be exercised as a team sport.”
Organizational politics must allow for blurred lines between roles. Teachers can only take on leadership roles at the expense of principals and district-level administrators. This also requires teacher unions to act more as “professional guilds” and for districts to follow the example of some for-profit businesses that are flattening bureaucracies.
The school and system must be oriented toward risk-taking and inquiry. Just as students need hands-on applied learning rooted in inquiry, so, too, do teachers need powerful driving questions to push their work forward. “School systems must be able to interrogatethemselves about the extent to which they create opportunities for teachers to learn and lead in ways that spread teaching expertise and improve student outcomes.”
The top ten priorities for strong and effective social media policies should be:
explaining the risks that can arise through the use of social media and the reasons why having a policy is necessary;
clarifying the permitted uses of social media during work hours and/or using the employer’s resources. This will include when employees are allowed to access social media at work (if at all), when such access is permitted – for example, during an employee’s lunch hour or while the employee is on a break, or at any time – and what will be considered to be excessive use;
confirming that the policy applies in respect of social media use by an employee outside of work hours where that use impacts on the employer or the workplace, including by an employee publishing comments which are referable (whether directly or indirectly) to the employer, its products, other employees, customers, partners, suppliers or competitors;
clarifying prohibited uses of social media, such as an employee engaging in online conduct which may constitute unlawful discrimination, defamation, bullying or harassment. There needs to be careful consideration of how this part of the policy links to an employer’s other existing policies covering those issues. Consideration can also be given to requiring employees to inform their employer when they become aware of any potential breach of the policy by another employee – unlike in other jurisdictions, this concept of “dobbing in” a colleague can be difficult to promote in Australian workplaces;
confirming that social media use must be consistent with an employee’s obligations to comply with all applicable laws, including to not make any comment that may be misleading or deceptive in trade or commerce (in breach of Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)), and to not disclose any market sensitive information prior to disclosure by the employer (in breach of insider trading laws);
reminding employees of their obligations in respect of the employer’s confidential information and intellectual property, and privacy, copyright and plagiarism issues more generally;
where an employee is subject to a workplace investigation, in addition to requiring an employee to generally assist with that investigation, specifically directing an employee to preserve and not delete relevant social media content, and to provide their employer with reasonable access to that content for the purposes of the investigation;
specifically providing the employer the ability to direct an employee to remove or delete prohibited content;
expressly stating that breach of the policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment; and
directing an employee on how they can notify their online connections of their departure from their employer and their acceptance of a new role, and confirming that the inappropriate use of those social media connections can constitute a breach of any post-termination restrictions on soliciting clients.
Need Sample Social Media Policies? Here Are 7 to Inspire Yours