Educational Equity Newsletter – September 17, 2020
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Building structures to mitigate your management weaknesses
As leaders, it’s easy to think that if our team is succeeding, they’re doing so because we’re managing well. Lots of times, this is true—and sometimes, they’re succeeding in spite of our management. This week is about getting clear on those patterns, choosing a few to disrupt, and designing structures and systems that mitigate their impact for your team.
Find your patterns.
Think about the feedback you have received from your peers and direct reports, not just now but over time. What patterns do you detect? What throughlines persist? Here are a few we frequently hear about:
- Trust-breaking. Lots of leaders have small (and large) ways they break trust with their team members. Last week, you learned of a few when you asked thoughtful questions to better understand the ways you currently build and break trust with your team.
- Power-hoarding and micromanaging. Leaders in our sector typically have a strong preference for how the work of their team gets done and a fear that giving up decision-making rights will lead to lower-quality work products and decisions. That’s only true when you haven’t developed your team to deliver high-quality work or shared your decision-making criteria. This is particularly true across lines of racial difference in our sector, where white managers tend to over-edit their BIPOC direct reports or refuse to give up the decision-making seat.
- Too much, too fast. As results-oriented leaders, we can pile more work on our team within tighter deadlines than is tenable or sustainable long-term (and give them the “I hear you, but…” when they ask us to reshuffle priorities). This is particularly true of what we require of our most junior staff—many of whom are BIPOC, LGBTQ, or otherwise have less power in the organization to push back on our demands, leading to burnout and regular attrition in these roles.
Of these, which seems the most true of your own leadership or the feedback you’ve received from your team? If more than one, which do you think is having the biggest impact?
For one of the patterns you identified, brainstorm concrete ways you might try disrupting that pattern over the next quarter and then use the following steps to hold yourself accountable:
- Commit explicitly. Send yourself an email about what you’re committing to change, why (what’s the impact the behavior is having on your team that’s driving you to change?), and what mitigations/interventions you’ll try over the next quarter to disrupt this pattern.Example: “Dear self, I tend to overcommit and then miss document feedback deadlines with my team, which causes a lot of stress and frustration and makes it harder for them to meet their deadlines. This quarter, I’m going to institute a “two-day buffer” to pad the deadlines so that I can give myself more time in case unexpected issues arise. If I have to miss or renegotiate a deadline, I will be proactive about communicating it.”
- Be vocal. Share your intentions with a peer or someone else who can check in with you about how you’re doing in living this intention. Also tell your team what you’re up to and ask them to call you in when you’re doing it, but emphasize that the burden is on you to fix the behavior—not them.
- Set times to reflect. Have a 15-minute check-in with yourself weekly to see how you’re doing in the area you identified; if that’s too infrequent, you can also build this into an end-of-day reflection.
- Ask for feedback. At the quarter mark, calendar time to ask your team for feedback on how you’re doing against this intention and where additional work is needed.
Creating the Conditions for Your Team to Thrive
Thursday, October 1 at 2pm ET
This training will be a working session to apply the practices we suggest this September, get more tips on creating the conditions for your team to win, and ask any questions you may have. Register here.
We’re switching to credit card-only training registrations!
Beginning September 30, TMC will be switching over to credit card-only registrations. Credit cards allow for one-step registration, faster refunds, and fewer emails so that you can focus on changing the world. To learn more about this change, including what to do if your school or organization cannot pay by credit card, check out our FAQ.
People of Color & Indigenous Cohorts
Managers and staff who are people of color and/or indigenous often face unique issues within their organizations while navigating the intersections of race, class, gender, and other identities. These cohorts create space to discuss and offer support around the challenges of being folks of color in progressive and social justice organizations, and to share practices that can help folks of color thrive.
- Wednesday, October 28th (10:00-4:00 PM ET)
- Thursday, October 29th (10:00-4:00 PM ET)
- Friday, November 13th (4:00-5:00 PM ET)
- Monday, November 30th (12:00-3:00 PM ET)
- Tuesday, December 1st (12:00-3:00 PM ET)
- Wednesday, December 2nd (12:00-3:00 PM ET)
- Thursday, December 3rd (12:00-3:00 PM ET)
- Friday, December 4th (12:00-3:00 PM ET)
- Monday, December 9th (11:00-5:00 PM ET)
- Tuesday, December 10th (11:00-5:00 PM ET)
- Tuesday, December 17th (4:00-5:00 PM ET)
- Wednesday, October 14th (11:00-5:00 PM ET)
- Thursday, October 15th (11:00-5:00 PM ET)
- Friday, October 30th (4:00-5:00 PM ET)
We also have TMC scholarships for our POCI Cohorts available upon request that can partially or fully cover the cost of the training if needed. You can request a scholarship by emailing our POCI Cohort Coordinator, Ebony, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need more support?
Email us at email@example.com to ask about our coaching and training services for leaders in the education sector. We look forward to hearing from you!