Empower your people

It's the beginning of the year and I'm going out of my mind. Even though we've added my position of "Technology Director" and I don't have to teach anymore, we're still not exactly overstaffed on tech here in the district.

It's the beginning of the year and I'm going out of my mind. Even though we've added my position of "Technology Director" and I don't have to teach anymore, we're still not exactly overstaffed on tech here in the district. I'm supposed to be handling curriculum and designing systems and integrating technology into the fabric of our classroom instruction (or something like that), but I'm spending a lot of time putting out brushfires.

Fortunately for me, the guy I have covering elementary technology is very good at what he does. He always has a smile for disgruntled users, he's willing to run around four schools filled with miniature kids and cranky teachers, and whenever I ask him to jump, his only question is how high. I know it's a cliche, but in his case, it's really true. He's a "yes-man" who actually manages to do the things he says yes to.

So when he asked me if there was any way he could help the users he supports with some widespread email and SIS issues, I said absolutely. I gave him administrative rights to both systems and some quick training, knowing and trusting that he wouldn't screw anything up (he's demonstrated several times that he's willing to ask questions before getting in over his head).

Suddenly, all of the problems stop coming in from the elementary schools, since most were related to email and the SIS (these systems are new to the elementary folks). Two principals thanked me specifically for empowering him to handle some administrative pieces so that the elementary users could be comfortable with the new systems.

Obviously, users need to earn this trust and respect, but everyone in your organization will benefit from motivated, well-trained, and fully-empowered users.

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