Friends, meet Jeff Evener (@evenerjeff) (https://twitter.com/evenerjeff) . Jeff is a dynamic leader from the Finger Lakes area in Upstate, NY. Husband, Father, Friend, and Leader, Jeff has a growth mindset & positive energy that helps move his district forward. I am grateful to Jeff for his friendship, leadership, and commitment to learning…and for this awesome blog post. Follow him on Twitter & ‘mind the gap!’
Mind the Gap:
It’s All About Application
By: Jeffrey Evener
Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and Operations
Auburn Enlarged City School District
I recently became a certified John C. Maxwell Team Member speaker, trainer, and coach through the International Maxwell Certification (IMC) process. If you are unfamiliar with John C. Maxwell, he is one of the foremost experts in the field of leadership. He has written over 100 leadership books and has sold over 30 million leadership books worldwide. I mention this as I have been reflecting and reevaluating my leadership over the last year and a half. I have held many leadership titles in my career, yet I found that I was not leading and serving others to the best of my ability. Something was missing. Thank goodness I found John C. Maxwell!
I had a flawed definition of leadership over my first few years as a school and district leader. I believed leadership was about getting things done. I was a task-oriented, action-oriented leader who took care of situations and crises in an efficient (and sometimes effective) manner. I thought being productive was THE essential ingredient that made leaders effective. Checking things off my to-do list was my primary goal. My goodness, was I completely wrong!
The more I read about leadership over the years, the more my knowledge about leadership increased, but something was missing. I had become a passive student of leadership. I loved picking up and reading the latest leadership book. What I was reading made all the sense in the world to me, but there was a gap. A big gap! The gap was in application. I was not applying my new learning because I thought the things I was reading about was for the upper echelon of leaders. I was not living out my new understanding of leadership.
What have I learned from the last year and half reflecting and applying my leadership knowledge? I have learned that everything rises and falls on leadership. Leadership is influence. You gain influence with people by valuing them. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care for them. People don’t buy into the vision, they buy into the leader. In short, leadership is entirely about others. This was the piece I was missing. Sure, there were times when I did nice things for people or said yes to odd requests, but my people were not my sole focus. My focus was on accomplishing the task at hand. I was missing the key piece in the gap I was living in. That piece was my people. I was not 100% committed to adding value to others.
For those faculty and staff that I was “leading” during this time, I am sorry for not knowing and applying what I know now. I missed the idea that anything worthwhile is never achieved alone. I missed the idea that teamwork makes the dreamwork. I missed the idea that leadership is like a muscle. We can work to grow and strengthen our leadership abilities. I am still a work in progress as I am working diligently to apply my new learning. Knowledge without application is meaningless. I am on a leadership journey to fulfill the gap. I hope this journey has no end.
Learn from me, we can grow as leaders. We can grow by investing in others. We can grow by adding value to others. We can grow by being present for others. We can grow by putting others first. Leaders are not born. Leaders are made. For me, it was finding John C. Maxwell and becoming part of his team to help fill my gap. For you, it could be something or someone else. Your leadership does not have to be stagnant. Your leadership abilities can be enhanced through learning and application. It starts with you!
If I can be of any assistance to you please do not hesitate to reach me at @evenerjeff (https://twitter.com/evenerjeff) on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions? Comments? Contact me at email@example.com
#LeadershipSparks: Keep Hitting Singles
Quote of the day: “Mountaintops inspire leaders but valleys mature them.”