Providing meaningful opportunities for professional development is another way principals can help teachers improve instruction. The principal should make sure that workshops and other development activities are related to the goals of the school and will help teachers better serve their students.
My role as a leader in business had reached a pivotal point. I was managing about 50 people in three large teams, just a couple of positions away from the CEO of a major retailer, making a nice income and eating out almost every day for lunch.
Successful school leaders are outward-looking and curious. As Teresa Tunnadine, headteacher at the Compton School in Barnet, states: “Headship is about having at least one foot outside of the school looking at what’s going on elsewhere and picking up good ideas.” They are excellent networkers and great opportunists, always in touch with events.
5. Be yourself. Although “be yourself” may sound like trite advice, the most respected leaders are personable and genuine. Stepping into a role that requires managerial skills doesn’t mean you need to adopt a false persona. Your colleagues would likely see right through that, anyway.
The fifth and final characteristic of a successful leader is being responsible. A business owner has to realize that, as the saying goes, “A skunk stinks from the head down,” and a business does too. This means when there is blame to be accepted, the owner must be the first one to accept it. But it also means that when accolades are appropriate, they should be spread out among the employees. And when this happens, a leader is born.
In most situations, no leader will titled as such. It’s just a position that someone naturally gravitates to. People will not grant you the outright privilege, but they can keep you from having it. Avoid coming off as a dominant, who-does-he-think-he-is go-getter and wait for the right moment. You’ll feel it.
Jump up ^ Headquarters, Department of the Army (2006). “Army Leadership. Competent, Confident, and Agile”. FM 6-22. Washington, D.C., 12 October 2006 p. 18. Publication available at Army Knowledge Online (www.us.army.mil) and General Dennis J. Reimer Training and Doctrine Digital Library at (www.train.army.mil).
Personal Story: Growing up I did NOT like reading. But as I got older, reading’s value became very clear. Growing up in the information age enabled me to read anything I wanted, I quickly realized this allowed me to stay ahead of the curve.
Great principals believe that the problems of the school are their problems, and they never stop trying to solve them. If a student is having trouble learning, a successful principal knows it is her job to figure out why, whether it is a learning disability, trouble with attendance, or gang involvement. Great principals are also creative in their problem-solving and approach challenges with an entrepreneurial attitude. They find ways to implement good ideas, rather than accepting the status quo.
The introvert’s even temper creates a peaceful atmosphere that engenders trust and safety for those around them. Trust, in turn, helps us do business more effectively. Staying stable and calm in all situations—cultivating equanimity and composure—are the hallmarks of introverts. These attitudes can radiate to others in the workplace, and especially to customers. We can all sense when we enter a business if employees are on edge, which has a detrimental effect on our customer relation experience. If the operative word is calm, the introverts among us can teach us a thing or two.
The challenge, based on the long-running BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs, produced a treasure trove of contributions from school leaders. Their insights, stories and experiences confirmed my belief that, while there might well be a common set of qualities that are crucial for successful leadership, there is also scope for different leadership styles.
Your leaders need a wide variety of skills and knowledge to motivate and support your teams, improve their own skills and connect with employees. No matter what industry you compete in, no matter how large or small your workforce, A Better Leader helps you create great leaders who will help you build your legacy with a true culture of engagement.