What’s my favourite flavour of ice cream? I pondered the question, and concluded I like any kind as long as it’s paired with cake, brownie or wrapped in a waffle cone. I really do like things paired I thought as I munched on a salad mixed with fruit & spinach, like my pair of twin daughters, and my other half, my husband. We are celebrating 25 years of marriage next Tuesday, so yes, I suppose I like being a “pair”.
I am not the easiest partner, as I am; intense, passionate and expect my companion to be in my head & heart and two steps ahead of me.
I lost one of my best partners last week. My friend & colleague accepted a position with the Ministry of Education in the Quality Assurance Early Years division as a Program Advisor. She is the perfect candidate for this with her friendly, knowledgeable, professional approach. Diane is my “critical friend”, she gives me straightforward feedback which is heartfelt, honest and makes me a better leader. We often joke we are ying & yang, and as I jump off the proverbial cliff of risk, she tosses me a parachute. I shared this with a colleague this week and she suggested I write down my “Diane wise words”.
1. Address the staff by name
Sounds simple enough but with multiple sites and pressing administrative duties I am often literally running in and out of rooms. I’ve learned to slow down, such as when I’m getting a coffee from the staff room, and intentionally be in the moment with the staff.
2. Words carry weight
As silly as this sounds, sometimes I forget I’m the boss. She reminds me that my words matter to the staff and to choose them carefully, as they can cause confusion or in contrast have the power to build up & inspire.
3. Keep things simple
In our collaborative professional development, my task was the construction of the power point presentations. My ECE/creative side would take over as I inserted wildly spinning & sliding photos & graphics. Diane challenges me to make the message clear & inviting without all the circus antics.
4. Bridge ideas
She is open minded to my big, enthusiastically delivered ideas. She reminds me to tie it into previous knowledge or training so the staff would be able to see the path I am taking them on and not have siloes of information without connection.
5. Believe in people
She believes that all people are trying their best. She encourages me to be patient & allow staff to learn at their own pace.
I am blessed to lead our organization’s progressive administrative team and being solo will nudge me to go outside my comfort zone & explore new opportunities.
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.~Winnie the Pooh.