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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Gonzales

A Coffee Break of Inspirational Leadership: Replace Yourself

Alas…it’s Monday! Happy new week.

This week’s theme is about mentoring, although I’ve affectionately referred to it throughout my year as ACSA President as – replacing myself.

Each and every good leader should be looking in the rear view mirror. Who is out there behind us that we can mentor and bring along on our ride in leadership? Who do we see with potential, that person who needs a tap on the shoulder to say, “I see something in you” or even “You’re next in this role and I’ll help you along the way.”

Replace yourself through mentoring.

Many years ago as an elementary principal, I hired a first year teacher. We’ll call her Sydney (and yes, her name is Sydney). She had something special and it was obvious that first year. I coached her into an instructional coach role, and eventually into a leadership position where she could really thrive. She was a natural connector, which we know is a characteristic of a good leader. Her potential was evident early on.

I then had the opportunity to hire someone in the last few years who was really strong in a number of areas. As a matter of fact, I’d say she had some skills that I probably needed to strengthen and I knew having her on my team would push me in a few directions where I can honestly say….I needed a nudge. Maybe it was reverse mentoring, but in any case, I saw her as having the potential to take over my position at some point.

Succession planning.


Our leadership makes a difference and we need to take the time to mentor along the way. Find easy ways to make it work – text messages of encouragement once a week. Phone calls to discuss challenges on the way into work. Coffee once a month.

They all add up…and they matter.

As promised, each of these blog posts will have some core components for further exploration, so explore away.

In order to really replace yourself, think about the coaching role. Here is a great article for a bit more exploration.

You know what? This week, let me give you one more article to read from Harvard Business Review about what the best mentors do because you can be that person!

  • Watch It

Simon Sinek knows an awful lot about leadership….and this video is about his perspective on mentoring and leading. It’s a good one!

Take a look…..

  • Share It

I love to take images that I find online and turn them into note cards. I take a blank powerpoint slide and put four images on a page so they are easy to size and cut down into note cards that fit into small envelopes. I then carry them around in my briefcase so I can write a note of gratitude any time I see something I want to acknowledge at work, or when I want someone to know they are appreciated.

Print in color on cardstock….practically free! Here are a couple to consider….and to give frequently. It’s up to us to mentor.

To encourage.

To support.

Try these out for size…

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