Why I Lead: Learning from A-Rod

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v New York Yankees

As part of the School Administration Virtual Mentor Program (SAVMP), I have been charged with blogging a bit about why I entered leadership. This has proven to be an interesting reflective process because I honestly could not trace back a point when I made the decision to get into administration. Since my first years of teaching, my colleagues would tell me that I was on my way to admin and I always protested saying that I loved teaching too much to take an office job. But They must have known something….

If forced to pinpoint a turning point it was probably when I was purposely left out of a meeting about a pretty serious school decision because I was not a department head. In our board, headships are basically for life so it can be hard for a young teacher to aspire to that if they are in a school where that seat is already filled. I was left out because the people who controlled the meeting did not like that the things I was saying were getting responses and were making people uncomfortable. Truth be told, I was probably a bit pushy and a lot arrogant in my approach but I can say that I hated being shut out of the conversation. I knew that day that I had to make a change and that I could not allow myself to miss any more important conversations. With that in mind, I made the decision to move to leadership.

Perhaps that is what leadership is for me: Being part of the process of change and innovation. I see leadership as creating and cultivating opportunities for more of these conversations and efforts. This is where my title comes in, (reference to A-Rod). For those of you who don’t know A-Rod , is a baseball player for the New York Yankees that earns just over $27 million a year and who recently was suspended from baseball for 211 games (1.5 seasons) for using PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs). I have to put out the qualifier that I am a dead set, bordering on stalker, fan of the New York Yankees, so while A-Rod as a man makes my skin crawl, I have to defend all that wears pinstripes so I recognize that I don’t see clearly on this subject.

I refer to A-Rod as teaching me something about leadership because he was looking for an edge to make him the best player possible. In his case he used drugs, (PEDs), but I would use PEDs as well but will change the acronym a little by saying that I plan to use Performance Enhancing Discussions. These PEDs are quite self serving as I know that my leadership will be enhanced by the ideas and input that I get from people during these DISCUSSIONS. I know that I will increase my batting average and certainly hit a few more out of the park, if I have worked my ideas through the sandpaper of conversation and collaboration. I plan on using PEDs on a daily basis so that my leadership is productive and one of growth and progress.

How do I do this? Well I will be looking for ideas from the SAVMP for this but I am pretty sure that it will involve lots of committees that have very definite and focused goals. I am a do-er in that I have to have a task to approach or a problem to solve for it to be worth my while. This is something that I think teachers appreciate so something I will lean on for sure.

I know I got a bit off topic here but I would like to re-focus to close. While I was going through the process to become an administrator, our board requires that all candidates take a Foundations course that is supposed to act as a discernment process for those considering admin. Most of it was a bit flat but one thing has stuck with me. The leader talked about a calling and gave some biblical references for people who were called, often unwillingly, to leadership. (Side note: no matter how often I read it, the BIBLE is still the best book ever written if for no other reason than because it relates to life so perfectly!) The crux of these examples was a very simple statement:

“A calling is when you love what you are doing, but you are pulled to do something else; something greater than you think your station to be.”

This is really it for me. I LOVED teaching and could have easily done it for my entire career and never got bored. I could have if it was not for that little voice in the back of my head that was “calling” me to admin.

I look forward to hearing from people with ideas for how to fully implement a regiment of PEDs into my educational leadership and I know that the SAVMP will go a long way to that goal.

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One Response to Why I Lead: Learning from A-Rod

  1. Great reflection Mike. I love the idea of the PED – I think they can easily be incorporated into your new leadership role.

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