(Originally posted on Servant Principal.)


By Walter A. Kozlowski

I don’t recall when or where I picked up this habit, but I do know why. Instead of kindly suggesting to somebody that he or she “Have a good day”, I prefer to suggest they “Make it a great day.” I, especially like to do this with staff and students. The difference in the two phrases seems simple, but in reality it is anything but subtle.

The verb have is passive, suggesting the day happens to us and placing the impetus of control outside of our realm of influence. The verb make is active and gives us responsibility for the outcome.

The second change I make to the common phrase, “Have a good day” is changing the adjective from good to great. In my mind, good implies average, which is hardly what we are striving for in our students and is less than what we should hope to accomplish for ourselves. Great implies going beyond ordinary. Aiming at great, rather than merely good, sets the bar a little higher, giving us something for which to strive.

Some simple ways I accomplish making my own day great include:
Creating opportunities to visit with students and staff
Being present in conversations
Taking a little time for myself to enjoy my family or listen to a favorite podcast
Spending a portion of my morning drive in silence
Sharing stories with friends and colleagues
Finding humor in situations and conversations
Looking for the good in every situation
Avoiding negativity

As a servant leader and as a principal, part of my responsibility is to create a positive atmosphere  and, even when things are difficult, maintaining an encouraging tone. I can’t say I am successful at this all of the time, but I can say that I try. Encouraging those around me to “make it a great day” is one of the ways I try to achieve this. It’s a good reminder to myself, as well!

I continue to advocate that anybody who works in the school can provide servant leadership. Consciously making each day great is one way lead.

What can you do to make your day great? What can you do to help make somebody else’s day great?


Walter A. Kozlowski, Ed.S is Middle School Principal. He shares his insights on his website, Servant Principal. Follow Walter on Twitter at @ServantPrincipl.