Inclusion is a Journey: Rethinking Equity vs. Equality

Often in my work as a professional developer of educators and leaders, I remind participants that becoming culturally responsive is a journey, and that one cannot expect to become culturally proficient simply because they attended a diversity training or two. In fact, I share that the journey never really ends, not even for someone like myself who works in this space and considers herself a fierce advocate. You see, I realized recently, that even the beliefs we hold near to our hearts can sometimes be challenged, forcing us to dig a little deeper.


Why Comprehensive Employee Training is so Essential

employee training

After a long process of interviews and reference checks, you may think your new hire has all the skills required to be successful. While somewhat true, it is crucial to continue training opportunities.

Providing resources for training and employee development helps keep quality staff. It also saves you money in the long run.

Still not convinced? We’re here to show you a few of the top reasons employee training is good for you and your business. Keep reading to find out more!

Ingrain Work Ethics and Culture

New hires can have diverse backgrounds and experience regardless of their applicable skills. Creating a training and development program helps bring new staff into your business’s culture.

Communicating work expectations will ensure new hires understand their role. They will also be more likely to ask for help where needed.

While crucial for new staff, regular refresher courses can also be helpful for all staff.

Staff Consistency

You will only hire qualified staff, yet they still may lack some core knowledge needed. Creating a comprehensive employee training program will provide all new hires equal footing.

Include specific knowledge or skills that your business requires. Cover all policies as well. This will help staff understand important elements like safety and discrimination.

Improve Employee and Bussiness Performance

By giving all staff the tools required for their job, they will be able to work at a high level. The increased knowledge and skills will give any employee more confidence.

As newer staff become more confident in their work and their role, they will more often volunteer new ideas. They may also offer to work on more complex projects.

Through all this, your business will grow and shine. Include training on leadership and emotional development for all levels of supervisors.

Employee Training Leads to Happy Employees

When staff has access to tools they need to succeed, they will not only perform better, but they will be happier. Providing learning and development opportunities shows that you care about your staff. It shows you care about their career.

Happy employees are more likely to stay in their positions, which means less turnover for you.

Keep Current With Best Practices

Finally, investing in development helps staff stay ahead of new technologies and trends.

If your business doesn’t invest in learning and teaching new practices, you will fall behind the field. This means you will be less competitive with peers in your field.

It is crucial to understand and use the latest technology because, in current society, customers expect the best.

Focus On Training for Longterm Success

It should be clear now how important employee training can be for new hires and existing staff alike. No matter your industry, thorough training ensures your staff has the knowledge needed to succeed.

Want to discuss staff training and development further? Please contact us and we would love to help!

4 Ways You Might Use the Supports of an Executive Coach

executive coaching

Being in a position of leadership and managing a team of people working towards one goal is challenging, but rewarding. Executives often put supports in place for those they lead, but seldom put a support plan in place for themselves.

Leadership can be a lonely place, and while you focus on the growth of your organization and of other people, it’s important not to forget to commit to your own continuous improvement.

Don’t panic. Here are three ways that having an executive coach can help.

1) Time Management

Have you ever seen your incoming emails balloon by the hundreds before you’ve even had your first cup of coffee on a Monday morning?

Or have you ever been in a meeting and felt that you wish you could get that hour of your life back?

Time management is an increasingly important skill in this modern world. Often our jobs start out one way and we add more to our plates.

Finding an executive coaching session that will help organize how your time is spent is a lifesaver!

2) Career Development

Have you been promoted to a new and different branch of management? Are you looking to change up your position?

Executive coaching that focuses on career development is the way to go. It’s a great option whether you’re looking to advance to a different career or have been given responsibilities beyond your scope.

3) Intervention Coaching

This type of coaching is more about helping your employees be their best selves. Of course, you might be able to get something out of it as well.

Intervention executive coaching is all about finding a manager or employee that shows promise but can also be problematic.

Whether they’re struggling to keep their head above water or need guidance in managing others, intervention coaching swoops in and nips issues in the bud. It’s a better solution than simply tossing an employee out when with a bit of structure, they could improve.

4) Therapeutic

The title o this type of executive coaching – therapeutic -probably calls to mind a psychologist and a couch.

While it’s true it can be very personal, it’s still all business. This method helps you, as an individual, develop skills that are beneficial to your job.

You’ll receive support along with nurturing advice to help manage any stressors you have on the job. In turn, your morale, productivity, and creativity can improve.

What Type Of Executive Coaching Is Right For You?

We’ve only touched on four different executive coaching methods but there are many others out there. It’s all a matter of doing your homework and seeing which one is the best fit.

These four methods are great to start with. If you’re interested in how executive coaching can benefit you, we’re here to answer your questions.

We’ll take a look at what you can do to improve your leadership skills, time management, and effectiveness and guide you along the way.

Schedule your consultation today and become your best self!

Emotional Leadership: How to Use Your Emotional Intelligence to Be a Better Leader

emotional leadership

Do you have emotional high intelligence?

Signs of emotional intelligence include politeness, self-reflection, and awareness of other people’s feelings. These are great attributes to have in business.

In this article, we’ll explain how these characteristics are crucial for effective leaders. Read on to find out why emotional leadership is important in the workplace and how you can practice it.

How to Use Emotional Leadership

In order to be an effective leader, you need emotional intelligence. Here’s how emotional leadership can improve your business and interpersonal skills.

Regulate Yourself

Emotional intelligence is defined as “the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions and the ability to use this information as a guide to thinking and behavior. (John D. Mayer, Peter Salovey and David R. Caruso.)

According to these researchers, there are five components that help leaders connect with themselves and others. These include: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills to manage relationships.

Being your authentic self is important, and that means being true to your core values. Write down the values, ethics, and rules that guide you and hold yourself accountable to them. Use them as the filter through which you make decisions. Ask yourself important questions like, “How does this (decision, action, etc.) make me feel? How might it make others feel? How will I address the feelings of others?

Regulate your words, as well as your actions. Sometimes, emotion forces us to react, rather than respond. Using emotional intelligence, allows us to better process the initial reaction, think through the impact on others, and develop a more intentional response. Then, you can express the response in a more measured way.

Be Empathetic

According to Forbes, empathy is essential for moving forward in business.

Many people assume that showing leadership requires quick and decisive action. While that may be true sometimes or in certain situations, it can hold you back when you’re trying to lead a team.

If you practice empathy, you can better understand the people you work with and make better connections with them. If you’re aware of how other people feel, understand what they have experienced, and are able to put yourself in their shoes, you’ll be better-equipped the come to an agreement and a compromise that suits both of you, resulting in better relationships and higher productivity in the workplace.

Using emotional intelligence helps to gauge other people’s feelings before becoming annoyed, irritated or critical, and instead, thinking about why they act or feel the way they do, keeping other viewpoints in mind. This in essential when you’re trying to manage change in the workplace.

Be Self-Aware

When your emotional intelligence is high, you’re more aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, which means you can identify the areas in which you need to improve. You’re also more aware of how your actions and words affect others around you. This also means understanding what motivates you, and where you get in your own way. Sometimes that requires embracing the areas where you are vulnerable and where you might need to check your ego and demonstrate more humility.

To practice self-awareness, start by writing a journal. In a Harvard Business Review article, “Managing Oneself,” Peter Drucker wrote, “Whenever you make a decision or take a key decision, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the results with what you expected.” Drucker called this self-reflection process feedback analysis. Writing down your own thoughts and feelings will help you to reflect and evaluate the impact of your leadership actions.

Ask for and be open to accepting feedback from others, and assess your own emotional intelligence using online resources and tools. Here are a few that we recommend:

EI Assessments

Become a Better Leader

If you’re looking to enhance your leadership skills even further, consider taking part in a hands-on training course.

With our leadership training, you’ll learn how to increase your productivity, improve morale, and become more adaptable. You’ll also learn how to make stronger bonds with employees and partners, so you can retain connections and improve your employee turnover rate.

Contact us to see how we can make you a better leader.

3 Reasons A Leadership Development Strategy Is Essential For Educators

leadership development strategy

Today, the median salary for a school principal is close to $100,000 — nearly double that of a teacher. Next to teachers, a strong and effective instructional leader is the second most important human resource in any school building. As an instructional leader, the expectation is that you model, coach and mentor to build leadership capacity in others to create the conditions where everyone can meet with success.

Being a leader means also being able to identify, invest and develop talent in others to meet future needs, create critical mass and build a pipeline. This makes the leader’s job easier because they build an internal cadre of other leaders who they can share responsibility with, gather feedback from, and create learning opportunities for, as they advance the school or organization’s vision together.

The best leaders create a solid team culture, such that the school or organization can still run effectively in their absence. They have cultivated effective relationships, and empowered others to make decisions.

Let’s take a look at some strategies for developing your bench of leaders by having a leadership development strategy in place that builds other leaders, instead of just followers:

Leadership Development Strategy Builds True Leaders

A real leadership development strategy creates qualified and prepared candidates for future roles, rather than just filling vacancies or creating empty promotions. In building future leaders, there must be intentional planning for creating the right growth and learning opportunities. For example, as an assistant principal, it is important to learn about budget and financial aspects that would be beneficial when the assistant becomes a principal themselves. This means the principal must be willing to share learning, even when “just doing it yourself” might be faster or easier.

Identify the key behaviors, core skills and functions that are most important in the role of the leader. Be clear on the leadership needs of your school or organization – in the present, but also into the future. Next identify those who might have the greatest potential to assume a leadership role, but who can be further developed so that leadership responsibilities can be shared. Identify the right people, plan for transitions, and create a training and development plan to build leadership in those who are identified.

Many leadership programs in colleges and schools of education may provide theoretical knowledge, but real leaders are best groomed through practical application. As a leader, you create opportunities for future leaders to marry theory with practice.

Leaders Are In Every Classroom

How we define leadership may sometimes be tied to a title. Teacher Leadership happens every day and in every classroom. Leading learning, creating a culture for success, being an effective planner – all things teachers do on a daily basis, and also the best qualities in any leader. Leaders should look into classrooms to identify high potential employees- those with both the skill and will to take on new challenges and welcome opportunities to be stretched. Find those who embody the vision and mission of your school or organization, those who understand the goals and have deep interest in governance, operations and a desire to lead. Don’t assume that previous formal leadership experience is a pre-requisite for those who should be tapped. Remember that skills can be taught, but attitude and will are strong indicators of potential.

Leadership Doesn’t Have To Be A Lonely Job

One of the main complaints of leaders is that there is a certain level of loneliness at the top. It doesn’t have to be that way at all. When faced with challenges, an effective leader should tap into the team culture he or she has created. Leaders shouldn’t neglect the power of the relationships they build, with teachers, students, parents, members of their leadership team, and anyone who they can work with to impact the greater good of the school. These are all opportunities for developing the leadership skills of others. This may take a more formal development approach, like that of a principal grooming an assistant principal, or can be informal, like working with students and parents to help develop better leadership of the PTSA or Student Government. In all of these instances, a leader has the potential to influence others, build their capacity and create a culture of shared leadership.

Solid leaders set the tone and standards for the organization. People that work with these leaders become more skilled and motivated as a result. Every leader can be built from the ground up if they work with someone committed to investing in their development.

Build A Sound Leadership Development Strategy With Us

Need to identify and develop leadership potential in your school? We can provide executive coaching, leadership development, and professional training.

We take education seriously at the Valbrun Consulting Group. Let us put your school in a position to succeed.

Take the time to contact us to learn more.

How to Manage Workplace Change Without Causing Panic

workplace change

Resistance is a normal reaction to change, but that fact isn’t comforting in the least while you’re experiencing it.

As an employee, the fear of failure and the fear of the unknown are enough to incite panic and put anyone over the edge.

As humans, we like predictability. We enjoy knowing what’s coming next. So when our sense of normal is disrupted, it can throw us into a severe state of stress and anxiety.

In fact, change is so profound that it can lead to various anxiety disorders.

Today, we’re discussing a few strategies that can help you manage workplace change.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

1. Communicate the Change Clearly

To employees, there’s nothing worse than feeling blindsided or like you have been thrown a curve ball out of nowhere in the workplace. That’s why it’s crucial for leaders to make communication a top priority when implementing any workplace change.

It’s vital to maintain transparency, be upfront and honest — don’t sugar coat anything. It will be much easier for everyone if there aren’t any surprises.

Here are a few ways to ensure everyone is up-to-speed and in the know:

  1. Present the change as it is.
  2. Share the facts and the rationale behind the decision.
  3. Present details on when the changes will occur.
  4. Allow everyone to be involved where possible, and seek ownership rather than just buy in.
  5. Allow those impacted to ask questions to get comfortable with the change.

If you hire a professional for organizational development, this team can help manage change and ensure smooth implementation, as well as assist with developing a communication strategy.

2. Validate Their Feelings During the Workplace Change

Stress and anxiety are two top factors that impact work performance.

If you prepare your employees properly ahead of time, you can avoid having a chaotic workplace after the change occurs. One great way to decrease the fallout from impact is to validate their feelings and let them know they’re not alone.

If decisions still need to be made, gather feedback and input. Where possible, seek consensus about how the change will be implemented, or what processes will be needed to move forward

The last thing you want is a team that’s paralyzed by fear and unable to perform effectively. Open the line of communication by inviting anyone who needs support to meet with you regarding their feelings about the change.

3. Demonstrate How The Change is Going to be Effective

One of the biggest reasons we see workplace anxiety before, during, and after a change is because people are afraid of the unknown. Don’t keep them in the dark, and ensure you sell them on the change.

If they don’t understand why this change is necessary and will benefit the workplace, and them personally, they’ll have a more difficult time coping with it.

If you work with a strategy management professional to look at what’s working and what needs improvement in the workplace, you’ll be equipped to give a detailed look at the benefits. Make sure you share those advantages with everyone.

Final Thoughts

It’s only natural to see reluctance to workplace change, but if you use these strategies there’s no reason it can’t go smoothly.

Just remember that reactions will differ, and preparation is key to ensuring everyone feels supported during the transitional time period.

If you need support with strategy management or organizational development, feel free to reach out by contacting us here.