July 21, 2016
Good leadership is something all school administrators aspire to. It is something that takes years of study, years of practice and years of growth, assessment, re-growth. So how can a blog post help improve leadership skills? In the same way mantras reinforce what we already know, an article on leadership reminds us of why and how good leadership is so important to us as educators. As we prepare for a new school year, there’s no better time to recommit and refocus our goal for effective leadership that inspires our school.
Effective leadership is easy to talk about — just do a quick search for inspirational posters! — and of course, it is a difficult and lifelong task to accomplish. We talk to a lot of great leaders on our podcast and they often emphasize the importance of continued learning, continued inspiration and continued growth. To that end, we’ve compiled some of our favorite tips from these leaders and our own experience to help reframe your leadership goals for this coming year.
7 Tips for School Leaders to Inspire Your Staff, Teachers and Community and Foster a Community of Collaboration
1. Establish Clear Priorities
There is always a long list of tasks that “must” be done. But having 2-3 clear goals that always take priority will insure that your team stays on target and works from your mission rather than a “pesky to do list.”
2. Find out what your staff needs from you
What information is needed to convey your key messages? What support and resources can you provide to make their work easier and more efficient?
3. Admit when you don’t have the answer
Your team already knows what you do and don’t know. Pretending will only undermine your authority. Use these moments as a chance to grow as a team and to demonstrate effective problem solving.
4. Ask a lot of questions
Invite feedback. Sometimes you will learn something surprising! And all of the time, you will ensure that your staff knows you are invested in teamwork and collaboration. Ask for help brainstorming solutions to problems but also ask questions to gauge the emotions of your staff. How are you? Are you happy? How do you think this school year is going? What do you want to accomplish this year?
5. Be accessible
This should be applied in 2 ways — make sure to block out time in your schedule NOW before it fills up to receive walk-ins and to respond to emails and tweets. In addition, consciously commit to having an open and receptive personality for new ideas, questions and concerns. In today’s all-access mobile society, the barrage of voicemails, emails and tweets can turn into white noise. Make sure your staff knows that you are listening and that you will respond.
6. Acknowledge contributions in the process, not just in the success
Especially when you are working towards long term goals, there are dozens of mini-successes that should be celebrated and mini-setbacks that need encouragement. Spontaneous acknowledgement of hard and creative work by individuals on your staff will go a long way to sustaining morale.
7. Tell Your Story
Why are you in education? Why are you a leader? Why are you committed to your school? Tell this story again and again through any public address, of course, but also in social media and in your day to day actions. Inspire through example and you’ll be amazed at how your staff inspires you.