The beautiful Horseshoe on the Campus of the University of South Carolina where I completed my doctoral work in Educational Leadership Source: sciway.net
I was fortunate to be a part of the PhD Program in Educational Leadership at the University of South Carolina. It was a wonderful blend of the theoretical and the practical. It helped me process my career in different leadership positions in K-12 education and higher education. I also learned a great deal from some wonderful mentors and from making many mistakes from which I learned. Here are some observations for our current times.
- People tend to support what they help create. When President Trump suddenly announced the implementation of tariffs to the surprise of his economic advisor and Congress, the result was the resignation of that advisor and a bill introduced by his own party to block the tariffs.
- Small minds can’t see the big picture. President Trump accepted an invitation to meet with North Korean President Kim Jon Yun without discussion or notification to his staff. Now the staff is back tracking and trying to explain what has to happen before such a meeting occurs.
- Don’t mess with people’s children. America has had enough. The parents of 17 shooting victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida as well as the surviving students successfully lobbied the Florida legislature and governor for a gun violence bill. The NRA is suing.
- Words matter. President Trump in a rally on Saturday called journalist Chuck Todd “a son of a bitch” and Congressman Maxine Waters “a very low IQ person.” I don’t know what more I can say about this behavior.
- If it looks unethical, it probably is. Unfortunately, the new administration did not take the time to undergo ethics training as previous administrations have. Thus Jared Kushner raises concerns when he meets with people in the White House and then receives loans later.
- Don’t ever do anything with money you don’t want in the headlines: $31,000 for a dining room set, $139,000 for a door, flying first class- all on the taxpayer’s dime.
- Strategic planning is not a waste of time. It keeps the organization focused and moving toward the mission. I am not sure what the mission and plan is for White House.
- Praise in public; correct in private. Jeff Sessions may not be the world’s best attorney general but he does not deserve public rebukes from his boss. Such behavior creates tremendous morale problems in organizations.
- Leaders need to learn two phrases: “I’m sorry,” and “I made a mistake.” When one apologizes, the other party can either accept the apology or not. They have a choice. To admit to a mistake is a recognition that we are all human.
- Context matters. Leadership success in one setting does not guarantee success in another. Donald Trump worked for himself in the business world. He now works for the American people.