Director of Leadership
Welcome to the Utah PTA Leadership page. Here you will find information and resources to aid in leading and managing your PTA.
Walt Disney was one of the greatest dreamers of the twentieth century. The spark for that vision came from an unexpected place. When Walt’s two daughters were young, he used to take them to an amusement park in the Los Angeles area. His girls loved it, and he did too. The carousel especially captivated Walt. As he approached it, he saw a blur of bright images racing around to the tune of energetic calliope music. But when he got closer and the carousel stopped, he could see that his eye had been fooled. He observed shabby horses with cracked and chipped paint. And only the horses on the outside row moved up and down. The others stood lifeless, bolted to the floor.
The cartoonist disappointment inspired him with a grand VISION. In his mind’s eye he could see an amusement park where the illusion didn’t evaporate, where children and adults could enjoy a carnival atmosphere without the seedy side. His dream became Disneyland. His vision could be summarized as, “No chipped paint. All the horses jump.” Because of Walt’s VISION, Disneyland has brought joy to millions of children and families. (Taken from a leadership book by John C. Maxwell.)
You have been elected as a leader in your PTA. Every year in our Utah PTA Leadership Convention we meet new PTA Presidents who hope to leave convention understanding exactly where to start in leading their local PTAs. The first thing you need to do is to “Go Back to the Basics” of where you want your PTA to be at the end of your term. John C. Maxwell said, “Vision is everything for a leader. It is utterly indispensable. Why? Because vision leads the leader. It paints the target. It sparks and fuels the fire within, and draws him forward. It is also the fire lighter for others who follow that leader. Show me a leader without vision and I’ll show you someone who isn’t going anywhere.”
"The leadership that frees people to be their best, affirms them in their diversity and includes them in the dreams, decisions and benefits of the organization is a servant leader." - James M. Childs, Jr.
"Don’t lose sight of the most important factors that lead to successful leadership: commitment, a passion to make a difference, a vision for achieving positive change, and the courage to take action." - Lorraine Matusak
"Leadership is the capacity to translate a vision into reality." - Warren G. Bennis
"Where there is no vision, there is no hope." - George Washington Carver
"A vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world." - Joel A. Barker
"Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks out side dreams; who looks insides awakes." - Carl Gustav Jung
"Keep dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible to those who believe." - Gail Devers
"Good leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion." - Thomas Hardy
"A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position." - John C. Maxwell
The documents below will be of help to you as you serve as Leadership VP:
Leadership is more like a baton than a trophy. You keep a trophy, but you hand off a baton. In a race if you don’t hand off a baton you lose the race. PTA members who fail to realize this may end up winning their leg or their time in office, but the PTA that does hand off the baton comes out a head and wins! So we need to be thinking now, how and who are we passing the baton to.
Don’t Re-invent the Wheel--Creating and Keeping a Procedure Book in PTA
One of the most helpful tools for a PTA volunteer is the Procedure Book. Maintaining a procedure book will provide helpful and useful information for each officer and/or chairperson. This information can then be passed from volunteer to volunteer each year and provide an invaluable resource.
If you are a new volunteer and there is no procedure book for your position, now is the time to create one. The procedure book, which can be a three ring binder, should contain a record of work done and other helpful material that has been collected. Include the following:
• A copy of the local bylaws, found in the State PTA Handbook given to each President.
• Standing rules. Not all PTAs have these, but they contain job descriptions and more detailed information about conducting the business and directing the activities of the PTA.
• The annual budget, especially the budget for your activity or project.
• PTA calendar for the year.
• Materials from workshops and convention.
• Job descriptions that are updated regularly for easy reference. Refer to your standing rules, the State PTA Handbook or to specific handbooks provided at the PTA Office or on the hard drive provided to PTA Convention attendees.
• Agendas, minutes, financial reports, and all other reports.
• A list of the officers, chairmen, and committee members addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses.
• A list of resource people and organizations. Include addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
• Special information relating to officers or chairmen and current work plans and including all fliers sent out for events.
• Previous program correspondence and files for at least two years so that all officers can look back on their predecessors’ work as needed.
• All fliers, handouts, newsletter articles, announcements and other publicity and media tools.
• Copies of all receipts from the purchase of supplies or food for your particular project.
• A comprehensive list of supplies needed for the project and their location.
• A timeline for the project, when to reserve things, order things, pick-up things, how often to hold meetings,
• A data disc containing all of the above information that was created specifically for this project.
• Very important—an evaluation of the project. What worked and what didn’t. What you wish you had done differently. The names of key people who helped you most or provided important and helpful information. It is always good to re-convene the committee to discuss this as a whole, to get different viewpoints.
Procedure books are created to help a PTA run smoothly and provide each chairman or officer with a record of what has been done in the past. Remember the procedure book, as with all PTA materials, belongs to the association. Once a chairman or officer has moved out of a position, the procedure book should then be passed on to the next person filling the position.
Begin with the End in Mind by Kris Denison
A few good leadership tips…..
First Rule of Leadership…. Everything is your Fault. A Bug’s Life
Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream. Malcolm Muggeridge
I suppose leadership at one time meant muscle; but today it means getting along with people. Mohandas K Ghandi
I know we all want muscle and to feel good about ourselves. How many of you in January all say…. I’m going to go to the gym and work out every day……You start setting your goals and say this is the year…….
In our Seven Habits of Highly Effective PTA’s # 2 is Begin with the End in mind… Setting goals. We want to set “SMART” goals.
S Specific Which, What, Where, When, Why
M Measurable How much
A Action Describe results
R Realistic Realistic and Relevant
T Time By when
Leaders aren’t born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal. Vince Lombardi
One of my goals for this year is to let people know how much I really care about them. We are all so busy and we think, “That person is doing a great job,” but we never tell them. I want you to think of the last time someone told you were doing a great job…… and….. When did someone hand write and send you a thank you card. How did it make you feel? My challenge to you is to let people know how much you appreciate them.
One of my favorite Quotes is “Don’t count the Days make the Days Count”
You never know when it is someone’s last day with PTA or the end of their life….. Don’t wait to let them know how you feel!
RESOLVING CONFLICT IN PTA - “It Begins with Me”
By Ilene Mecham
Do you want to spread spider poison or warm fuzzies??
Leader’s Responsibility in Managing Conflict:
1. Identify the problem, don’t gossip about it and assign blame.
2. Don’t try to change people or control their actions. (It ticks them off).
3. GIVE EVERYONE RESPECT.
4. Foster TEAM WORK. Support each other.
5. Let the President have her turn to lead PTA.
6. Remember, a person’s perception is their reality.
7. As you are exposed to conflict, do your part to DEFLATE it.
8. Don’t gossip. Go to a person if you have a problem and discuss it calmly and respectfully with them. Don’t be part of “parking lot” discussions. (Do your part to deflate it).
9. Do NOT take things personally.
10. Don’t be defensive and offended easily.
11. “Check your EGO at the door.” (“Is that my ego talking??”)
12. Listen. Think.
13. Follow our Standing Rules and Bylaws.
14. Have a good attitude.
15. Assume the BEST. (“I am sure he/she didn’t mean be offensive”).
16. Be correctly informed. Don’t listen to assumptions or gossip.
17. Appreciate the good actions and talents of people. Validate people.
18. “Having my say does not mean having my way.”
19. Think about the desired result. “What is best for the children?”
Lego’s Leadership Lesson
Large Lego Building Blocks (for younger kids)
Small Lego Building Blocks (for older kids)
Lego Candies – Enough to pass around in a small bowl or individually packaged with a small quote or tag indicating “Always Bee Building in PTA” (optional – purchased at local food store, SLC found at Macey’s)
Introduction – Discuss the importance of always building in PTA. Have the set of larger blocks on the table in sight and the smaller Lego’s out of sight.
Ask the group the following questions and lead a short discussion:
What does it mean to always be building?
In what areas of PTA do we build?
Have everyone think about these two questions and ask for a volunteer to come up in front of the room. Compare the set of large Lego’s to the PTA Board. Instruct your volunteer to take as many blocks as she/he needs and to contruct a tower representing everyone on their board team.
After they have a good structure, encourage them to share with the group who is part of their team. Encourage the group to stay engaged by asking for their input if they haven’t included everyone, every position, etc. Remind them of committee’s, teacher reps, etc. When they feel they have included everyone thank your volunteer and discuss the following points:
Our Board may be limited to certain positions (holding one of the larger Lego pieces) but if we are focusing on this (hold up one piece) being your PTA, it isn’t enough.
I propose that I don’t have enough pieces in this kit to properly represent your Board, your Team (most kids have upto 85 pieces) reference this number.
I propose that if we focus on building, even this kit with ___ pieces (pull out small Lego kit) doesn’t have enough pieces. You see, where does it say only 5 people can be on a committee? Where does it say that we are limited to membership from our parents? What about grand parents, older siblings, aunts uncles, business owners, school sponsors, entire staff, surrounding businesses, grounds crew, etc. Do you see where I’m going?
With a mindset of Always Building – we are building at every option, every angle.
Summary: Take them back to the first two questions – Building doesn’t only mean membership. Building means growing as an individual, as a team, as a community, as a Leader. At every opportunity we need to be thinking more like this (small Legos) and less like this (large Legos).