Principal's Calendar Monthly Reflection: November

By PrinciPal Connection posted 10-26-2017 10:59


To help you keep a handle on what you are responsible for, a group of committed IPA members and staff created The Principal’s Calendar (available for IPA Members). The calendar is broken down by month. At the end of every month we will be sharing out the reflection you should be considering for the upcoming month. The reflections will center around attributes outlined in the School Leader Paradigm. The Principal's Calendar is sponsored by Stifel.

This month's featured attribute is:
Humble: Knows what he/she does not know; resists being arrogant; never underestimates competition. 

Associated Competency:

Growth Mindset: Embraces challenges; persists despite obstacles; sees effort as a path to mastery; learns from criticism; is inspired by others’ success. 


Associated Intelligence:

Personal Intelligence: The capacity to reason about personality and to use personality and personal information to enhance one’s thoughts, plans, and life experiences. 


For Your Reflection 

On June 6, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded a force of approximately 4,000 ships, 11,000 planes, and three million soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors.  Now famously and most readily remembered as D-Day, the largest seaborne invasion involving one of the largest teams of people in history, began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control.  More importantly, it contributed to the Allied Forces’ victory on the Western Front (National Archives, 2016).   


While history tells us D-Day put the Allies on a path to winning World War II, nothing was certain at the time.  Eisenhower was well aware of how entrenched and fortified German soldiers were on the beaches of Normandy.  Furthermore, the weather and sea conditions would produce their own challenges.  Recognizing defeat was a reasonable possibility, Eisenhower took an amazing step.  He drafted a public message in case the attack failed.  Simply and succinctly, Eisenhower wrote: 


"Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone” (National Archives, 2016) 

The last line is worth rereading… probably several times.  While Eisenhower did not take part directly on the field of combat on D-Day, he, as leader of the team of Allied forces in Europe at the time, humbly took full responsibility for even the chance of failure for all three million involved. 

To Keep You Thinking  

  • In his book The Ideal Team Player, Patrick Lencioni (2016) writes, “Great team players lack excessive ego or concerns about status.  They are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention for their own.  They share credit, emphasize team over self, and define success collectively rather than individually.  It is no great surprise, then, that humility is the single greatest and most indispensable attribute of being a team player” (p. 157).  As the leader of your school community or team, how do you model humility for them? 
  • When considering the context of your learning community, what is necessary for someone to possess and exhibit humility? 
  • When reflecting on your team, who is the most humble?  Why?  What have you done to recognize this person and their contributions? 
  • Some argue that at least a little bit of ego is critical for leaders to be effective.  Do you believe this to be true?  Why or Why not? 
  • Some confuse humility with weakness.  Is it possible to be a strong leader while remaining humble?  How?