Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The types of leaders we need in education...

What makes a school successful? The principal... the teachers... the students... the parents?

Can one individual (or group of individuals) be the determining factor of success or not?

Can leadership come from the middle or must it originate and live at the top?

None of these questions are easily answered, but in my experience as an educator, it's principal leadership that makes all the difference.

It's this difference that we are so desperately needing in our schools...

We need leaders who see the big picture and are able to give meaning and purpose to what we do. Sometimes it's the simple ability to 'connect' the dots that makes everything possible.

We need leaders who recognize and pay homage to 'what was' in an effort to maximize and capitalize on 'what could be.' Schools are in need of a leader with a vision; a vision that is bigger than any one individual.

We need leaders who won't shy away from asking tough questions and won't yield on having high expectations for all with a belief that all can achieve in their own respective way.

We need leaders who are willing to be visible. We need leaders who are willing to stand up and speak when others choose to remain quietly seated.

We need leaders who are able to adapt and shift based on what's needed of them. There's no such thing as black and white and straight-forward when it comes to education, so being flexible is absolutely critical.

We need leaders who can commit to making a decision even when they know the decision won't be popular. People will eventually come to terms with something they don't agree with; people can't come to terms with uncertainty and confusion.

We need leaders who can effectively and clearly communicate. It all may sound great in our heads, but if nobody else knows what the plan is or what is being done, then the great plan and idea will fall short.

We need leaders who own their weaknesses and shortfalls. It's a great leader who builds a team of folks who complement each other and ensures that all gaps are filled.

We need leaders who stand behind and move forward with their strengths. It would be a crime to sit back and not utilize one's strengths, so we need leaders who not only recognize their strengths, but also act on them.

Make no mistake, leadership in schools is of the utmost importance, and it's the presence of or lack thereof that separates those schools that are able to make positive strides and those that struggle to gain traction...