Recently I had a conversation with someone in an online administrative preparation program (I’ll call this person Jennifer).
In speaking with Jennifer about her program, I wanted to know the program’s design–was it strictly asynchronous, synchronous, or a hybrid? Jennifer told me it was asynchronous so I wanted to know how the program worked and if she liked it.
“It’s okay. It’s very convenient. As a working mom, it would have been impossible to work my schedule around needing to be on campus at a specific time on specific days. That just didn’t seem doable. So I really like that I can do the work around my schedule and not the other way around.” I can certainly understand that response! You don’t have to be a busy working mom to appreciate convenience and flexibility.
Jennifer continued, “I like what I’m learning about, but I wish that I was able to talk with my classmates and the professor. Since all of the classes are asynchronous, we read the assignments, post our responses, and then have to respond to someone else’s post.”
Jennifer and I then compared notes. I said asynchronous learning is hard and we discussed how she is required to respond to one post from her peers each week. Even so, Jennifer told me she replied to everyone because she wanted to get the most out of her experience. She shared with me that she always went above and beyond in her work and sometimes some of her peers in the program questioned her about why she did that. I asked her too. “Why wouldn’t I?” Jennifer responded. “Or, perhaps the better question is, why aren’t they? If they are going to be administrators, isn’t going above and beyond what we should be doing?”
To me, this is the learning behind the learning. Certainly, no one wants to work for a lazy boss. “Dive in,” we shout in our heads at that person.
“Roll up your sleeves!”
“What?! Are you afraid to get your hands dirty?”
We want to work for people who can get in the mud, do the job, and execute. We want someone who understands the plight of the people doing the work, isn’t afraid to say what needs to be said, and does what needs to be done.
Nevertheless, overachieving leaders are challenging in their own way. In my experience in leadership, I’m not sure we want someone who dives into the deep end of the pool all the time and expects everyone else to dive in too. These are people who seem to lack empathy for the burnout others can experience. Overachieving leaders tend to say “yes” when their team members would have wisely said “no.” This is not because the team members are lazy, but because they are either spent or they are already trying to achieve success on something else.
I should know. I was an overachieving boss. Then, I hired someone who told me, “You are the pacesetter in the race. You cannot run at a pace where people can’t keep up because you will lose them.” It was such great advice. There is an African proverb that echoes this sentiment. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
The nature of being a leader is that there are others who are taking their cues from you. Being a leader is a group sport. You cannot lead a group of people who are unable to operate at your speed. Further, if you want them to keep up, you need to help them improve. That doesn’t happen by you running as fast as you can–it happens by you working with them to grow their speed. Otherwise, the leader is the person who will find themselves left in the dust.
P.S. As I shared in my final post, “Wild and Precious,” from the 22/23 school year, I planned to work on my next book over the summer. I have to confess, due to all of the games and tournaments that my kids participated in and the fact that I was teaching, consulting, and working my day job this summer, finding the time to write and then getting my ideas on paper was harder than I expected. I’m happy to say after some time, I did find my voice and my rhythm. My next book is going to have some illustrations and so I’ve recently reached out to freelance illustrators via Fiverr, an online marketplace for freelancers of all stripes. I’ve been very impressed with the ease of searching, communicating, and contracting with folks. If you’re in the need of freelance writing, illustrations, website design, etc., I strongly recommend checking out this one-stop resource!
P.P.S. Please remember to...
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