Where Are My Sleeves?

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At the Herb Farm in Woodinville, Washington, owners Carrie Van Dyk and Ron Zimmerman work alongside their servers, sous-chefs and sommelier. They dress in the traditional manner of fine dining restaurants: black on bottom, crisp white on top. For one course they might be topping off water goblets while another they are describing their dishes with mouth-watering adjectives. What they are not doing is standing back and surveying the work–they are right in the mix with their sleeves rolled up.

August brings many professional development opportunities. Depending on our roles, sometimes we lead them, sometimes we attend them. I often observe what top decision makers in districts do when they attend workshops and conferences. Some administrators come in and sit way in the back. They’ll wave off my offer of handouts and say, “I’m just here to see how things are going.” Without knowing it, they can send the message, “I’m not here to learn.” Others sit with teams, take notes, ask questions and participate fully. I hear them say, “How can I support you? What can I be doing?” Like Carrie and Ron, their sleeves are rolled up and they are fully engaged in the work.

I believe leaders are doers. I don’t want to ask my team to do things I’m not willing to do. How will I participate in upcoming professional development? Will my sleeves be rolled up or buttoned down? Where will your sleeves be?

2 thoughts on “Where Are My Sleeves?

  1. Interesting how we may send messages by what we do or don’t do in the situations you’ve described, Heather. Thanks for the reminder that others are watching and listening to see how we respond and how we participate during times of PD.

  2. Well said. I think those that stand back also send the message, “I’m not one of them. I’m above participating.” Talk about having a cooling effect on teamwork.

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