Photo by Loic Leray
I’m not really known for my short blog pieces. The last one I wrote ended up as a world record for me in word count! Recently I’ve been enjoying some Seth Godin blogs. He is the total opposite of me. He says the bare minimum, and then leaves. His words linger in the air, uncluttered by superfluous language. He never gives the answers, but instead provokes you to look for them yourself. And I’d pick that those little journeys that he sends you on are more than just the content of the words in his blog.
For example, this is his blog post from the 17th July 2020.
“Sometimes we earn it.
Sometimes, it’s handed to us even when we don’t deserve it.
And sometimes, we’re deprived of it, through no fault of our own.
Everything works better when we have the benefit of the doubt, and offering it doesn’t cost very much at all.
And it’s rare enough that we should work overtime not to waste it.
JULY 17, 2020″
That’s 68 words … and that includes the heading and the date!
This is just an example of his … for more your should check out his blog site at https://www.sethgodin.com/
So that’s what I’m going to try and achieve here. I don’t have the answer, and I want you to go on a journey to find yours.
Four ‘P’s of Principalship
Purpose …. This is the rudder that helps you move your school in a certain direction. Without purpose you are an inflatable lifeboat without oars in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. You move with the currents and the prevailing winds. What, therefore is your purpose?
Passion …. This is the energy source that fires your direction. It is your engine. It keeps you going. It’s what gets you up each day. It gives you satisfaction of a job well done, and nourishment to keep going. What, therefore is your passion?
Poison … This is everything that gets in the way of your Purpose and Passion. It’s the waves and potholes that get in the way. Not only is it the viciousness of gossip, the bullying of colleagues, but also the battle within your head, the doubts that have been sown, and the situation that you are in. It is physical and mental. It is real and it is imagined. It is both in your face and subtly in the background. It is quiet and it is loud. Another word for this obviously is conflict, but conflict doesn’t begin with a P! How you deal with this either adds to the poison, or it diminishes it. But it never really goes away, and there is always something that will replace it. There are those who have the super power of resiliency that seem to rise above this, never letting the waves entirely swamp the boat. What a superpower to have!
What do you do to mitigate poison? Is it effective? Does it constantly get in the way of your Purpose and Passion? If it does, why?
Poise … poise is about balance and equilibrium and self control. Poise is how you walk around the school with your head in the air not only knowing that you’re doing a great job, but also knowing that everyone else knows you’re doing a great job too.
I’m arguing here that your poise in your role is dependent on this equation:
Purpose + Passion/Poison = POISE
Too much purpose and you run the risk of over managing or micro managing others.
Not enough purpose and you will be a leader like a chicken who has just had it’s head cut off. And of course where is the poise in any of this?
Too much passion and you run the risk of burning your team out around you. Too little and they will simply think you don’t care.
Poison plays an important role however. Without it you just have Purpose and Passion, and although this does sound nice, the reality is that it is the poison that keeps you grounded and accountable, approachable and human. The narcissist is typically all purpose and passion inflamed by their ego – as long as it’s all about them. The poison they don’t see. The poison keeps things real, but if we manage it badly then the purpose and passion of our lives means nothing.
The key to optimum POISE then is the continual balancing act of ensuring that Purpose, Passion and Poison play off against each other in a well balanced like way.
So, if you find there’s too much poison in your world, then maybe you need to make your purpose more visible, or your passion. And if you’re being accused of being a narcissistic, whip wielding, tyrannical leader, then maybe, just maybe it’s about time you take a look at how you’re dealing with your poison component.
When everything is in sync, you have maximum POISE.
So how do you maintain your ‘P’s to ensure maximum Poise?