Top 5 Traits of Great School Leaders

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Top 5 Traits of Great School Leaders

Great school leaders have no secrets or mysteries regarding how they do their jobs. Being great has nothing to do with understanding a hidden set of values or concepts outlined within a mysterious leadership tome only available to a select few. It relies mostly on adopting effective habits,  adopting effective habits into your daily life.

If you long to become a truly stellar leader and turn your school into a leading example, you must be:

Begin and end every day with a particular mindset. Any effective leader can tap into their own potential greatness by adopting a strong mindset. Doing so entails an understanding of what leadership qualities lend themselves most brilliantly to the job. Book summaries are excellent resources, such as Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, PH.D., and cover this ideology in greater detail.

If you long to become a truly stellar leader and turn your school into a leading example, you must be:

  1. A character builder: Positively coach and encourage your team. Build your people up so each one is a leader in her/his own right. Delegate authority, not tasks. Empowering others to lead will inadvertently establish and strengthen your own leadership. It builds trust and professional ties, conveying solidarity.

  1. A worthy example: If you value honesty and integrity, show up and display it. Don’t sit back and evaluate, deciding how much positive energy to give this or that person based upon their best/worst performance. This is completely backwards. Salute what you’d like to see by first manifesting it through your behavior. Your team will begin to emulate you, whether consciously or not.

  1. A visionary: Don’t merely try to tweak the existing paradigm. You might have to toss it out entirely and come up with a new one. This is innovative strategy and you can’t use this strategy at all if you’re not first willing to look beyond present constraints. See what needs to be eliminated and find out how to replace it as soon as possible which is easier said than done, but very possible.

  1. A community builder: Take a position on hot button subjects like bullying and school shootings. Speak directly to your students in formats they comprehend and are most accustomed to. School leaders have begun to see the enormous social value in establishing YouTube channels and school blogs in which they address school issues openly and simply. Encourage students to comment and respond and keep the dialog open, flowing, and respectful. Many catastrophes are averted by simply diffusing their energy before they expand.

  1. Accessible: Stand out. Make your presence quietly but palpably known in school corridors, the lunch room, at the bus stop, in the classrooms, and at extracurricular activities. Students and parents must see a school leader in order to gauge her/his credibility. Credibility is the essential ingredient to winning the trust of parents and teachers.

A great school leader must also be fair and objective. Respect the opinions of senior teachers, but don’t favor them. Give young teachers space to make their inevitable mistakes. Show them the patience and respect you might want in similar situations. Don’t load teachers with problem students; this is a recipe for burnout and turnover. Life isn’t fair, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be.

Like much of life, these tips are challenging to apply. Theory and application always contain a gap between them. Negotiating this gap is as much about your skill and mindfulness as it is about your determination. Great school leaders never give up, period. With diligence, anyone can go from good to stellar.

 

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