You Don’t Need to Know Everything to be a Leader

Last week, as Derek, Sabrina, and I were wrapping up one of our Google Certification Bootcamp sessions, I sat down to chat with 5 teachers from Central Elgin Collegiate Institute in St. Thomas, Ontario. First of all, I want to give a shoutout to all five CECI teachers in attendance: Alyssa Gilbert, Michele Anderson, Stephanie Vinke, Tanya Dyke, and Tonya Rumas. For a variety of reasons, it’s often a challenge for teachers to attend after-school sessions. The fact that 5 teachers from the same school were in attendance, speaks volumes about their commitment to professional development, and their embodiment of a growth mindset.

The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious. – John Scully

During our conversation, I recognized an opportunity to capitalize on having 5 teachers from the same school present, not for my own self-interest, but for the students and teachers in their school. Cultivating systemic change drives nearly all of my decision making. I’m always willing to do a Lunch and Learn, or attend a staff meeting, because I’m hoping the teachers in attendance will in turn share their learning with colleagues, and ultimately have a positive impact on our students. It’s my sincere desire that these teachers will leave feeling empowered, and ready to change the culture within their building. This is the core of systemic change.

As a leader, I want to help unleash people’s potential because it’s good for them – and beneficial for our students. – George Couros

Understandably, these CECI teachers just wrapped up a session where they were inundated with all things Google. Perhaps feeling ill-equipped to share their expertise with colleagues, they didn’t jump at the opportunity to blaze new trails in their school. However, by confining ourselves to this thinking, we’re missing what’s truly important, it’s the reason I’m writing this post: you don’t need to know everything to be a leader. It’s not about knowing everything there is to know about GSuite. Sure, if you’re presenting on a Google app, you need to have a solid understanding, but if you want to move people forward, it’s not usually the tool that’s the driver. It’s what’s subtly conveyed by the presenter: a modelling of growth mindset, a willingness to try new things, to take risks, and an enthusiasm for the information being shared. The fact that these teachers were in attendance at our session, demonstrates leadership potential that needs to be tapped, regardless of whether they need more practice with conditional formatting in Google Sheets.

Don’t wait to share until you know everything about the tools, that’s not going to happen, share because you know it’s the right thing to do for the learners in your school.

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