Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
helps you in your leadership.
Name: Todd Nesloney
Title: Director of Culture and Strategic Leadership
Organisation: Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA_
Todd Nesloney is the Director of Culture and Strategic Leadership for the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA). He has also served as an award-winning principal of a PreK-5th Grade campus of over 775 students in a rural town in Texas. He has been recognized by the White House, John C Maxwell, the Center for Digital Education, National School Board Association, the BAMMYS, and more for his work in education and with children. Todd has written six books, including the runaway smash Kids Deserve It and his newest book Building Authenticity: A Blueprint for the Leader Inside You. He is passionate about doing whatever it takes for our students and teachers and helping others tell their story.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
The most challenging aspect of being a leader in our current day and age is being viciously attacked when your decisions don't align with what someone else wanted you to do. It seems now that people will say anything to defame someone else when they don't like what their doing.
As leaders we have to lead from our hearts and our values and make decisions that are in the best interest of those we serve. Even if not everyone will agree with it.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I believe that within each of us is a leader. It sometimes just takes a while for us to see that leader within. For me I started to feel like a leader when I was in my 7th year of teaching and felt like I could impact even more people.
Through speaking, social media, and attaining my Principal certification I sought out opportunities to lead. I didn't wait for them to come to me. I also have always made sure that I led in a way that was reflective of who I really was and not what someone else was trying to make me.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Every day is different. That can sometimes be a challenging thing, but at the same time it keeps me on my toes. The parts of my day that do not change is that every morning I get up early enough to enjoy coffee and breakfast at a slow speed. I want to start my day easing into the day and not rushing to catch up right away.
I also always make time to eat lunch and dinner (even if it's only 10 minutes) because if we don't take care of ourselves we can't take care of others. I create goals, that are all placed on my Google calendar to help me stay organized, of what I want to get through each day. When I see something not happening that day, I move it to the next day on my Google Calendar.
I make time get up and go for a short walk when I begin to feel overwhelmed. I share things I'm doing on social media. I also take a little time each evening to veg out with a television show with my wife to decompress from the day.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
A recent leadership lesson I've learned is that we can't lead from an empty space. I've always heard the importance of taking care of ourselves so we can take care of others.
But I've never prioritized it until recently. And it has made all the difference. With the career I chose, I was conditioned to believe "always place others before yourself" and felt selfish when I started prioritize my own family, my own mental health, my own physical health.
But in not prioritizing me, so many things began to fell apart. When I'm in my best physical and mental space, I do my best work and lead as my most authentic self.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
One of my favorite leadership books ever is "The Power of Moments" by Chip and Dan Heath. It is so full of so many takeaways and reminders of how we can seize every moment to help others feel seen and validated.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Be unashamedly you and know that who you are NOW is not who you will be tomorrow, or any day after that. We are constantly changing human beings, and that's good! So don't run from that or say "that's just not how I'm built"....because you also weren't born knowing how to speak or walk or wipe your own behind, but you LEARNED! Keep learning but through it all remain true to your core beliefs. Don't change who you are deep down ONLY to please someone else.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
As a leader it is always my biggest goal to help others feel seen, valued, and appreciated. Too often we go through this life wondering if we matter. If what we're doing is really making a difference. I want to make sure everyone I come in contact with sees the brilliance that exists within them. Because everyone has gold within.