To be a great school leader you need to develop in three areas: emotional intelligence, leadership and management. I am naturally a strong manager due to my logical-mathematical way of thinking. Leadership is an area I am developing in. The best way to develop as a leader is to identify mentors and learn from them. I am fortunate to be learning from some of the best, including John Ritter, John McBride and Brent Mutsch. This year Brent has been teaching me how to lead with the school mission at the heart of all I do. A simple way to put this into practice is at the end of each of your meetings ask the question, "What have we done today to further our school mission?" I do it as an exit ticket.
If you are or want to be an excellent manager you need to live in Q2. One of the easiest ways to live in Q2 is to use an online calendar program or hire an experienced secretary. You need to schedule time for extremely important activities such as classroom observations, making next year's timetable, writing that newsletter piece. This way you are not bombarded with work at one time. This will be very beneficial for your relationships too as you will find yourself leaving work earlier as your important work is done in advance. Try to get things off your plate as soon as they come in, if you have the time.
|Taken from: https://czarto.com/2012/04/24/four-quadrants-of-time/|
It is very important that you know your emotions. For example if you suffer from a chronic illness and come to work in pain, it is very important that you are mindful of this. Conflict can escalate quickly when our emotions are high or we are in pain. Getting perspective is also very important. You need to learn to know when others are struggling and gauge your approach accordingly. Ochan Powell once told me to listen for the emotion first, then the content. I am finding this advice to be golden.
If you are starting out in a leadership role, I am sorry to say but you will most likely be bullied. This bullying will not be physical but more likely verbal and usually behind your back. Expect to hear things like he/she should not be in this job, he/she does not know what he/she is doing. This will be greatly reduced as you prove yourself by establishing a track record. Remember to fill the bank as was mentioned in my first post. This bullying will most likely not stop completely, but as you stay at a school you will notice the bullies come and GO! My friend Allison Vidotto once said to me when I was going through an intense period of bullying, "Ignore the naysayers, they are a small part of any great story".
Identify mentors! You would not believe how many leaders know exactly what you are going through and are willing to help for free. You will learn more from one hour with an experienced Head of School than a week at a PTC course, and it will save you a lot of money. Find the mentors strengths and learn from them. You can also learn what a mentor's weakness is and learn from that too. In order to seek out mentors you need to be humble and ask for the help. I have found the EARCOS leadership conference to be a great place to find such people. To give a quick shout out to some of the other mentors I have learned from, Kristina Seitawan, Helen Teese, Dr. Noel Geoghegan and my current HOS, Lily Liu.
Strong pedagogical leadership can transform a school and make the lives of many students and teachers a joy. Fight for this!