Sunday, 25 June 2017

The best leaders are those who lead people to believe in themselves. Lolly Daskal

Lead People to Believe in Themselves

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 6.33.19 AMThe best leaders are those who lead people to believe in themselves.
People believe in themselves when they have a reason to commit to something significant and meaningful.
When people feel inspired by their leader, leadership is at its best. When people are made to feel important, when they know they matter and they have an important role, they bring their best to all they need to accomplish. Inspiration drives motivation.
When people understand the direction of the vision, leadership is at its prime. People need to know where they are heading and why they are headed there. Once they have that knowledge, they can leverage their talent to achieve great results. Direction fosters purpose.
When people feel safe to make mistakes, leadership is supportive. While success relies on innovation and creativity, it also takes many mistakes to succeed. When your people feel safe to fail, you have done your job in preparing them to meet challenges and letting them know they will go unscathed when they make mistakes. A safety net promotes security.
When people experience trust in their own ability, leadership is at its peak. Those you entrust feel important and empowered. Trust encourages people to bring their talent and knowledge and become part of the team. Trust leads to confidence.
When people know they can contribute in a meaningful way, leadership is optimal. It is important for people to know that they have a genuine contribution to make, that what they do is instrumental in achieving significant results. Meaning creates justification.
Give your people a reason to believe in themselves and watch them create something meaningful and significant.
Lead From Within: When you believe in people, you get people to believe in themselves. And when that happens you can achieve great things together.
[box]Lolly Daskal is the president and founder of Lead From Within a consulting firm specializing in executive coaching and customized leadership programs. Connect with Lolly Daskal [/box]
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© 2014 Lolly Daskal. All rights reserved. Photo Credit: ShutterStock

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness is being released by Portfolio May 2017.

15 Responses to “Lead People to Believe in Themselves”

    09. Dec, 2014
    Wise insights. Thank you.
    Reply to this comment
  2. Panteli Tritchew
    09. Dec, 2014
    We all remember moments when someone pushed us outside our comfort zones. By definition, it was uncomfortable; from that, we succeeded and celebrated or failed and learned. Either way, we grew. Leading someone to believe in themselves and to uncover their hidden talents—what a gift! Great insights, Lolly!
    Reply to this comment
    10. Dec, 2014
    I think one of the most important skills of a leader is to instill confidence in their team members. This can be hard, especially if the leader has no confidence in themselves.
    Our emotions leak out, and if we don’t believe in ourselves, we can’t bring it out in others.
    Reply to this comment
    11. Dec, 2014
    Thanks Lolly. Good insight into inspirational leadership.
    When combined with authentic leadership, with ownership of the answers to the question “Why?”, this is a powerful model that can unite and energize a team.
    Reply to this comment
    12. Dec, 2014
    Believing in ourselves and beleiving in others is a practice in focus. When we chose to focus on potential and opportunity rather than limits and barriers,we build a stronger path to success and better teams. We chose resillient leadership.
    Thank you for another inpiring post Lolly.
    Reply to this comment
    12. Dec, 2014
    Relevant editorial that expresses the essence of advancing human potential through encouraging
    Leadership. Thanks for posting this informative read.
    Reply to this comment
  7. Sunil Jogdeo
    13. Dec, 2014
    Hello are a factory of producing insightful crisp articles. it is very difficult to provide variety on one subject and you have been doing it.
    I just felt (a) feeling of `safe` should not be restricted to only `mistakes`. A leader should pass on the feeling of `being safe in the hands of the leader` to his followers or people every moment. This is true with all leaders, even head of the family. (b) people must see leader engaged in problem solving processes. A leader who solves organisational (employer + employee + customer + other stake holders like share holders) problems with speed and accuracy, is always followed.
    Just a food for thought. Keep inspiring by your articles.
    Reply to this comment
    13. Dec, 2014
    Reply to this comment
  9. Ann
    15. Dec, 2014
    Good insight!!!
    Reply to this comment
  10. ike
    15. Dec, 2014
    Wow, that is the anthesis of what the City of Pittsburgh PD does!!!!
    Reply to this comment
    01. Jan, 2015
    I absolutely love your blog and insight on leadership. You are very encouraging and an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your wisdom on leadership. AMAZING stuff!!
    Reply to this comment
    16. Mar, 2016
    This is one of the finest articles I have come across. The depth and the knowledge imparted by the admin are bang on point. Appreciate the efforts put into drafting such an informative post.But if you want to get best image management services & other consultations then do visit my website.
    Reply to this comment
    26. Apr, 2017
    In fact no matter if someone doesn’t know after that its up
    to other visitors that they will help, so here it takes place.
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  1. Lead People to Believe in Themselves – Lolly Daskal | Leadership and Personal Development | Mary C Hartfield's BlogDecember 29, 2014
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Saturday, 8 April 2017

As districts across the country purchase technology at a feverish pace, they must ensure they have a solid implementation plan.
While I am a huge advocate for the purposeful integration of technology in schools, we must resist the temptation to think that this is the solution to solve all the ills in our current education system.
What concerns me most is how many districts and schools are going all in with one-on-one or bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives with no real plan for implementation and evaluation of effectiveness. This lack of planning and support will likely result in devices never achieving the outcomes that they were designed to achieve. It’s foolish to think that students will learn just by putting a device in their hands.
What’s needed is a shared vision and strategic plan for how mobile technology will be utilized to improve student learning outcomes that are aligned to higher standards.
When implementing and successfully sustaining a mobile learning initiative, it is imperative not to allow the device to drive instruction. Lessons, curriculum, schools and districts should never be built around technology. Everything we do in education should be built around learning. Thus, if the ultimate goal is to improve student outcomes then the role of any mobile device initiative should be to support or enhance learning.
When it comes to educational technology, I often get the feeling that the learning is often secondary. Using technology just for the sake of “using it” equates to a huge waste of instructional time that could be dedicated to deep, meaningful learning. It also equates into a huge waste of money.
Most students know how to use technology. However, we cannot assume that they know how to use technology to support their learning. This is where attention to sound instructional design is necessary, first and foremost. With a pedagogical foundation and better assessments firmly in place the stage is set for students to truly begin to own their learning in ways never imagined. The key is to determine what we want our students to know, and then let them have a choice as to how they will demonstrate or apply their learning. This not only adds relevance and meaning to the learning, but also takes the pressure off the educators from having to learn how to use an endless number of tools.
As educators we need to place a great deal of emphasis on creating artifacts to demonstrate conceptual mastery in one-on-one and BYOD environments.
Technology can become a nice pedagogical fit when viewed this way. Adopting a mindset of pedagogy first, technology (when appropriate) second when integrating mobile learning devices asserts a focus on what’s most important — learning. When it comes to technology we must always ask ourselves how will this tool support learning and allow students to demonstrate conceptual mastery.
There must be more of a concerted focus on learning outcomes, construction of new knowledge leading to authentic application, and the development/enhancement of essential skills (creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, digital citizenship, entrepreneurship, media literacy, technological proficiency, communication, collaboration). The assessment and feedback pieces are also critical. Mobile learning represents a huge investment in time, money, and other resources. With so much at stake the goal should be placing a powerful learning tool in the hands of our students — not a digital pacifier.

Thursday, 6 April 2017


Rubrics and continuums – don’t berate, innovate.

Yes, we all know that we should be moving rapidly towards models of education that can be described as self-directed, self-regulated, student-driven, learner agency etc… and many of us are genuinely trying to do so. Many more have been trying to do so for many years… bit-by-bit, step-by-step. If you’ve been part of this for a while, “hello again”. If you’re just joining us, “welcome to our struggle”.
Creating the conditions for these types of learning to occur is not simple. It just isn’t as simple as handing control over to students and saying “go for it”. Like all people, our students need to know what “successful” looks like and how they can be it. At some point, someone has to articulate what we are looking for from our students. In collaborative teams, this means argument, compromise, semantics and considering what the different stages of learning might be as students work towards success. Assessment should be formative, purposeful and provide students with the guidance they need… it should illustrate their next steps. The language this is articulated in should be instructive, easy to understand and present in the daily vocabulary of your learning culture. Creating the tools and strategies for this to happen effectively is a very hard task, but it is hard because it is worth doing.
This notion of “successful” cannot remain a nebulous, abstract notion in the mind of an individual teacher. There can be no “hit and miss” about whether or not this notion of “successful” is communicated clearly to students, or even communicated to them at all. There can be no half-hearted attempts or abandoned thinking just because it’s difficult or “uncool”. Teachers and groups of teachers must deliberate about:
  • where the learning is going
  • what they’re looking for from the students
  • how they might reach – or get close to that
  • how they will guide students in that direction
Guess what… that’s going to end up being a rubric or a continuum or some other form or model of criteria – because that’s the point we’ve reached so far in the evolution of education. They are the thinking educators’ attempts to move beyond tests, multiple choice, right and wrong, yes and no, good or bad. They are the thinking educators’ attempts to turn the abstract into the tangible, to convert randomness to clarity and to extract what has been hidden in the minds of teachers and make them visible to students. They symbolize the attempt to allow for more freedom of pedagogy, more room for manoeuvre, more real, on-going differentiation and the recognition that our students learn and do at different rates.
Like everything in life, there’s some amazingly good examples out there, and there’s some incredibly bad ones, and a whole lot in-between. What makes them amazingly good is thought. What makes them incredibly bad is lack of thought (I feel a rubric coming…). If you’re not a fan of rubrics or continuums, or don’t think they’re fashionable… come up with another way of doing what’s in the bullet points above and share it with everyone. Fashion designers don’t ditch the previous season’s designs and tell everyone to go around naked until someone randomly suggests an article of clothing! They come up with new designs, they innovate. I’m sure everyone in education would be very interested to see what you come up with, although I can’t promise a “Paris Rubric Week” any time in the near future!
Let’s face it, without guidance, most students would be completely lost… largely because their teachers would be equally lost because they never really bothered to discuss what the learning was really about. The “blind leading the blind” is never used as a positive example, unless as a joke.
Our job is not a joke.
Now, of course, the ideal situation is for students to be defining “successful” in their own terms, in the contexts that they design instead of those designed by teachers, setting their own goals, and to be articulating:
  • where they think the learning is going
  • what they’re looking for from themselves
  • what they’re looking for from their peers
  • how they might reach – or get close to that
  • who might guide them in that direction
But… guess what… they’re going to need their teachers to work with them on those things. They’re going to need to get good at doing those things… they are skills that are developed in steps (sound familiar?). Teachers will be need to be observing, noticing, assessing and giving useful feedback/feedforward about how the students are learning, the levels of autonomy or independence they are demonstrating, their ability to reflect on themselves and use those reflections to move forwards. But how will they make sure they’re using a common language? How will they make sure they have a shared vision of what “good looks like”? How will they ensure they’re consistent in their support and guidance for students? How will they make sure they appreciate the steps students take as they make progress? How will they help their students appreciate their own development?
Errr… umm…
Right now, I don’t see a better way to frame those conversations and decisions than in the collaborative creation of rubrics or continuums. Do you?
So, make your rubrics or continuums about that. And if you don’t like rubrics or continuums, come up with another way of communicating with students about their learning, share it and be a person who is part of the evolution of education, not a person who gets in our way while we try to do so.
I often hear people who are reluctant to talk about assessment tools use the very clever line about “thinking outside the box”… probably because (yes, its subtle) many of them look like boxes. It’s scary that creative people use this sort of reasoning as they seem to forget – almost instantly – how useful boxes are, how beautiful they can be, how many sizes, colours and shapes they come in and how they can be transformed into other things.

Imagine you’ve been in education for 7, 11, 15 or even 25 years. In each of those years, you have grown as a professional, learned new technologies, shifted with the standards, had new initiative after new initiative started in your school, and seen the way you have been evaluated move from observations to data back to observations and data.
Over the years you’ve had constant turnover in your administration. New Principals,  new Superintendents, new Directors of Curriculum, and many Special Education leaders. You’ve seen some of your best friends and teachers leave the classroom.
Some have gone on to administration.
Some have left the school.
And some have left the profession altogether.
Your curriculum has been changed multiple times and you are starting another revision, complete with a shift to new standards.
The schedule has changed three times. You’re now required to have common unit based assessments multiple times a year. You are part of a school data team that looks at all of this “stuff” and tries to make sense of where you can make an impact.
And in the midst of all this change, you are actually getting excited because students are now able to bring devices into school, or maybe your school is giving them devices. Although many are worried because this is going to change everything, again, and it’s not going to be easier.
And you are exhausted.
Not so much by the students, although they have changed over the years.
Not so much by the parents, who have definitely changed over the years. But mostly by managing all of this…picking yourself up
But mostly by managing all of this, picking yourself up every day, and believing you’re doing good work, with good people, for the right reasons.

The Struggle Is Real…And Worth It

I asked teachers and school leaders what they were struggling with a few months ago, and this is a compilation of their similar story. The two words used most in email responses to my question were “frustrated” and “desperate”…
In the wake of a new year, I wrote about how pumped I am for education moving forward. But I can’t help to notice the sighs of desperation and frustration inside many classrooms.
Most of us got into education because we wanted to make a difference in the lives of our students.
Education is the bridge to so many opportunities in this country and around the world. We know as teachers and school leaders the avenues it can open up to any student, and we also know how hard it is for some students to overcome personal circumstances without the help of teachers who care and want to make a difference.
It seems that change (and there has been much of it in the last 5, 10, 15 years) frustrates many of us, and leaves us desperate for some consistency in the teaching profession.
I wouldn’t argue that point.
Yet, change (like anything else), is not all bad and not all good. It’s a mixed bag.
What is true is that change is constant. It’s also getting exponentially quicker. This is not only in education, but in many fields of work. It’s taken a while for change to pick up the speed with which we now see it in the classroom, but it has always been there.
So, how do we handle this as teachers and school leaders? How can we keep the frustration and desperation from boiling over and hurting all potential progress? More importantly how can we make sure the frustration and desperation does not trickle down to our students and impact their learning experience in a negative way?
Well, we can start with these guiding beliefs:

1. Change is constant, let’s focus on how we manage it

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude – Maya Angelou
We may not be able to influence what types of changes are made in schools. Some we are going to love and support. Some we are going to disagree with and oppose. Regardless, the one thing we do have control over is how we manage change as an organization, team, and individual.
Start with yourself. How are you talking about change? How are you managing the process? What can you do to help colleagues through the change?

2. Don’t wait for training, be a learner, go out and seek it

If we accept that change is constant, we also have to realize learning is constant. Professional development and training can only take you so far as an individual. If you want to be successful through times of change then go out and seek new learning opportunities and training.
The internet has changed how we learn forever. Anything you want to learn (or need to learn) is most likely available online for free… This is not to say that organizations should not provide training. Of course they should. But how can we seek out learning opportunities (and share those opportunities with colleagues) that can help all of us in times of change?

3. Focus on the important things (many of these do not change)

Are students engaged? Are they empowered? Are we challenging students and supporting students through various learning activities? Is the classroom a student-centered experience? Are we focusing on the whole child?
I get that curriculum changes. Technology changes. New initiatives are always around the corner. But the best practices of “how we learn” are focused on student-centered experiences with the right amount of challenge and support for all of our learners.
What can we focus on in the midst of all the change?
Our students.
And consistently focusing on what is best for them.
If you are feeling frustrated in your current situation, or desperate for some help in managing all of this change, take a step back.
Or maybe you are frustrated because you are changing, innovating, and doing creative work, yet can’t seem to get others to buy in and join the movement.
In either case, take a moment to breathe and look at the big picture.

The Silver Lining: Innovation Can Come Out of Frustration

Innovation Comes Out of Frustration
I was frustrated as a teacher a few years ago when I thought all my 11th grade students cared about was their grades. Out of this frustration came the 20% project in my class.
I was desperate for a new way to teach students about human rights violations and genocide. Having them read articles and watch a few videos wasn’t cutting it, because the students needed to “do something” about these issues. Out of this desperation came a collaborative project that my students helped create: Project Global Inform.
As a K-12 Technology staff developer many of our staff members were frustrated that they had to learn about a new tool with the entire staff during an in service when they already were using it. Why have the same training when everyone was on different levels? Our game-based professional development missions came out of this frustration.
Last year, a fantastic teacher I worked with was frustrated with how “Industrial Arts” still looked for the most part like it did when he was in high school. After a lot of hard work, this frustration turned into a new 9th grade course (Creative Design & Engineering) and a reworking of the entire scope and sequence to create a true Maker Department.
A group of teachers in my district were frustrated that our students weren’t getting some of the same opportunities and experiences as those students from other neighboring districts. That led to the creation of a CentennialX: a summer internship and human-centered design program where students work with real companies to create products, pitch those products, and present their work at conferences (like Stanford’s MedX) around the country.
If we choose to let frustration and desperation get the better of us…then we choose to miss the silver lining:
Innovative ideas come out of frustration. 
We tend to think of creativity and innovation as something that happens outside the box.
But I would disagree.
The most creative and innovative work comes from circumstances that force a new type of thinking for solutions inside the box.
It reminds me of the scene in Apollo 13 when the carbon dioxide is building and they have to make a filter using only the materials inside the shuttle. There is pressure. There is frustration. And there is a group of desperate people working to create an innovative solution…
Put all the circumstances out on the table. Embrace the feelings of desperation and frustration. And then create something inside the box that is going to benefit everyone.
Because the only other option is to give in and give up. And that sure wouldn’t be any fun!
Start by getting the FREE Innovative Teaching Toolbox by signing-up below. It’s filled with articles, resources, and videos to jumpstart the journey out of frustration and towards innovation.