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Discernment: Balance Self-Reliance and Asking for Help


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One of the most important skills I help owners and directors develop is discernment.

But…what exactly does that mean?

Let me give you an example: Two different patients go to the doctor with a headache. One of the patients is suffering from a hangover, and the other has a brain aneurysm.

How does the doctor properly diagnose and treat each patient?


Discernment is all about getting to the heart of the matter and understanding what lies below the surface so that you can come up with the right solution.

To diagnose their patients, doctors accumulate years of practice, learn from their mistakes, and avoid black-and-white thinking.

You and your staff can do the same.

When a situation arises in your center—like a teacher quitting on the spot—it can be easy to flounder in the chaos that ensues. Where’s the SOP for that?

But when you know how to ask the right questions, see past the surface, and consider the big picture, you can be an effective leader regardless of the scenario.

Discernment is like a muscle—to make it stronger, you need to use it! And the more you practice discernment, the smoother decision-making in your center will become. 

This week, we’re diving into the fourth component of my B.R.I.D.G.E series on the six meta-skills you need as a 21st century leader: discernment.

Join me for a conversation about:

  • What makes a discerning leader
  • What questions you should ask to become a more discerning leader
  • How to grow your discernment muscle (HINT: It’s something kids do)

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: You can’t SOP your way out of everything. No matter how great your systems and processes are, you’ll still have conflict and issues. But if you focus on training your discernment muscle, you’ll be prepared to make informed and wise decisions—no matter the situation.


Resources and links mentioned in this episode:

As you’ll learn in the podcast episode, one important part of becoming a discerning leader is knowing when and where to seek wise counsel. By joining our Owner’s Only HQ or Director’s Inner Circle programs, you’ll have access to a welcoming community of peer school leaders who can share their real-world experience and advice, whenever you need.

Click Here to Listen on Apple Podcasts

Click Here to Listen on Non-Apple Devices

More about the show:

If you are an Early Childhood director or owner, prepare to transform your school and life with the Schools of Excellence podcast. Tune in each week to learn from Chanie Wilschanski, the founder and host of the Schools of Excellence Podcast and a mom of 4 little kids. Each episode will be packed with tools and strategies – equipping you to build schools with higher staff retention, teacher motivation, parent partnership, collaborative culture, and beautiful quality of life.

Every week, Chanie shares the truth about the journey to excellence, the strategies that are working TODAY, and the mindset about the critical decisions and choices that you make every day which impact yourself, your teachers, parents, family, and children who you serve every day.

In addition to weekly solo episodes, she’ll also be inviting industry leaders and the changing makers of the landscape of education to give listeners the inside knowledge of what it takes to sustain excellence.

Don’t miss an episode, subscribe today for everything you need for your leadership journey!