Friday, 28 August 2015

A Good Work Ethic?

I started work as an apprentice when I was 15 years old. The manager of the salon created a very strict work environment-being timed in the bathroom, taught how to hang the towels ‘correctly’, work day ends when the manager says. Any monetary bonuses were based on targets. It was typical practise to give the apprentice the children and men as they took longer and your percentage per client was always below the target. When I complained to my parents, they said it was developing a strong work ethic and I would be the better for it. We were always told to never quit! My dad was a hard worker and my mother too. Mum continues to keep herself busy today. 

One day my mother called the salon and was told that I was too busy to speak and that personal phone calls were not allowed. My mother (who never phoned the salon) replied, “Could you please tell Andrea that her dad has had a heart attack and was being taken to the hospital”.  The only form of empathy I received from my manager was when she said that her Dad had also had a heart attack. But I think she said this more as a way to say, it’s quite common.

After four years I got up the courage to ask my boss for a transfer. It was hard as we are always told to never quit and never give up. However, I was offered to manage another salon but it would be in a four weeks time. I was so excited! All that ‘hard work’ had paid off. The only problem was that my boss told my manager that I requested to be transferred. So for the next four weeks, my manager would make comments like, “You only have to work with me for two more weeks”.

Years later I opened my own salon and one night I ran into my previous boss. Ironically, I was told that I was the only apprentice who had not asked to be removed from working with this manager. Because I had never shared my concerns, I remained in the same context. I had hoped that my exiting that situation had caused my manager to reflect on her practise. But I also wonder if hoping was enough? Had I made it any easier for those coming through as an apprentice?

I expect many of you have worked with those who support and encourage your professional growth. Yet I expect some may have also worked with those who may also impede your success. These people- 
·      may not work as collaboratively as they could
·      may not share information or documents that make work less stressful
·      may not share your triumphs and successes but always freely share your challenges and mistakes
·      may not allow you any autonomy

And so I wonder …
·      when does your resilience create a precedent for others?
·      when should you speak up and say it’s too much?
·      how do you work with those who you believe are not promoting your success?
·      why do people act the way they do? (Insecurity, modelled & experienced behaviour

And the questions continue...

Sunday, 2 August 2015

"We need gender mix in leadership. We're all stronger & wiser for it." - Peter Holmes

Yesterday on #satchatoc we had many women and some men chatting about ‘Women as Educational Leaders’. I had previously noted numerous tweets about women not being prominent in the education industry. With the support of Alma Harris and many of her colleagues, we created this chat. Our purpose was to unite and support aspiring female leaders or women in leadership roles. Could we support, mentor, coach, and encourage more women to enter leadership? What I learnt from this chat is that globally, female educators believe we should support each other more.

What impressed me yesterday were the men who joined the conversation. In my opinion they see this as an issue for all and not just women. If you think about it…many male educators could educate female students, have wives and/or daughters and therefore are invested in this conversation. This was made evident in Matt's first tweet. Here is the storify from the chat

  • @debsnet @ShiftParadigm I am the person and teacher I am because of the women, and men, in my life - everyone needs champions!
  • A2 #satchatoc consistent message needs to happen for us to assert that leadership is not a thing men 'do' and women 'get to do'
  • A2 #satchatoc a lot of capacity building needs to be done in men to break down old assumptions & then establish better ones together.
  • A1 - supporting young women to 'lean in' on issues rather than wait until they are already in the workforce. #satchatoc
  • We need gender mix in leadership. We're all stronger & wiser for it. TY @TiffanySinton for your work & making such a difference. #satchatoc
  • @jennyluca Leadership lies in self-belief, passion & desire to help others improve things. It's in all of us; nurture it in all. #satchatoc
  • @stringer_andrea Empathy certainly develops. It's what we try to foster in kids every day. Aust needs to show more for @adamroy37 #satchatoc
  • A6 - We make sure our classrooms & schools are free fr gender bias & sexism. We encourage & foster leadership in our young women
  • A3 Men have a responsibility to speak up & against when encountering sexism, especially those in leadership positions. #satchatoc
  •  A2. Ed can be an example 4 areas lacking in female leadership like the political & corporate spheres. These spheres shd pay attn! #satchatoc
  • @EduSum very much so ... Some have been the most inspirational I've worked with #satchatoc
  • @NicoleArchard #satchatoc Excellent and relevant point now and in the future. When women, girls see other female leaders, becomes reality!
  • @MelanieSSpencer #satchatoc I agree but in terms of child rearing schools should be accommodating of this or valuable staff will walk away.
  • @stringer_andrea #satchatoc A5 Be visible in aspects, levels of school leadership and fight for equity through evidence and numbers.
  • @jenniferabrams @bbray27 A2 - I accept joining panels or doing keynotes for the optics of women in front as much as my personal strengths - #satchatoc
  • @jenniferabrams Maybe you downplay your strengths, while other overestimate theirs? @bbray27 #satchatoc
  • A2 I think all schools and other education organisations should have diversity as an explicit goal. #satchatoc
  • @CarolCampbell4 The recent DLTV conference was a fantastic example of proving women with equal time and billing as keynotes. #satchatoc 

I wanted to say ‘Thank you’ to all those who participated in #satchatoc, including the gentlemen. I am so fortunate you are in my PLN and are educating our students.