Saturday, 9 September 2017

Lead Like A Pirate Blog Hop. Week 6 - Enthusiasm

“Pirate leaders know that they have to bring energy and excitement to each day, no matter what”(LeadLAP pg 69)
How do you ‘fake it until you make it? What strategies do you use that enable you to make a positive choice about your own attitude?

I have used the 'fake it until you make it' mantra for many years. Both as a classroom teacher and  later as a senior leader. I have always been careful in which company I say this because at first impression, it sounds like a duplicitous way to behave. I am delighted to read in LeadLAP (Pg 69) that 'fake it until you make it is an overt strategy.  When I was a classroom teacher, 'faking it' may have meant that I was putting on an "I know exactly what I'm doing" face when dealing with a behaviour issue. It may have meant that I volunteered for something that I wasn't all that keen on doing and then discovered that I was rising to the challenge and enjoying it. The main strength of faking it was when there was 'that' child, who was difficult to like. I have found that 'faking' liking (who is the adult being paid to do a job here after all?) always leads to actually liking. I have never had a situation that hasn't resulted in a turnaround in my own attitude. 

This has been especially useful in my senior leadership role, when some staff, parents, children are harder to bring on board with the way we do things at St. Francis. I don't always feel enthusiastic; I may have started the day feeling tired, but I know that my enthusiastic attitude can make a difference. "Enthusiasm is often the missing element to engagement" (#LeadLAP pg 70)

 I can get caught up in the rush of my job and forget to smile and look enthusiastic. It is amazing what an impact this has on the people around me. I have left some staff or team meetings thinking, "Well that fell a bit flat!" I do know that energy and enthusiasm do make a difference, as hard as it can be some days.

 I try and smile at every parent as I am walking around the school at the beginning and end of the school day. We all know how important it is to feel valued and noticed in our lives. Paying it forward is hopefully the outcome of treating people with respect and ideas with enthusiasm; they then change their attitude into a more positive supportive one. 

The SLT were recently discussing the advantages of being on road duty at the beginning and end of the day. Saying each child's name, asking how their day went and exchanging a few words with their parents. This all helps to build community. 

George Corous has a great blog post about the fact that Every Interaction Matters  As part of that blog post, he has added a powerful youtube video clip about the way that every interaction sets the tone for the day. It is well worth viewing. Every interaction students experience sets a tone for the day.


  1. Love that video - really does a great job of illustrating the point you are making! It's not hard to show enthusiasm - and it's great working with someone who continually demonstrates it - great post Maire!

  2. I agree Maire, I really notice how my level of enthusiasm sets the tone in the classroom for the day. Sometimes I need to have my inner voice tell me to switch it on if it has been one of those rushy mornings, but before I know it the "faking" it becomes natural.

  3. Thanks Jane. I think we teachers are masters at putting on our best face.