Halfway through my fifth year as a leadership coach, consultant, trainer and speaker, it’s been my pleasure to spend time with literally thousands of school leaders. During that time we’ve shared lots of great learning, good stories and I’ve fielded lots of questions. The question that I’ve fielded more than any other? How do you balance it all? How do you manage your time?
We’ll talk more specifically about time, priorities, and task management throughout the year in our Leadership365 initiative. For today, let’s focus on the 3 Rs of Performance: Rest, Recovery, Renewal.
Let’s put a few things on the table as we look at supporting your performance as a school leader. First, we have mistakenly created an archetype of the Superhero Principal that works 24/7, never sleeps and is always on duty. The problem with that framework is that it’s only sustainable for a brief time: sooner (NOT later!) you’ll burn out. Even the people who think it can never happen to them will burn out.
Secondly, you can’t perform at 100%, 100% of the time. In any endeavor– athletics, entertainment, medicine, research, leadership– the top performers perform at capacity for a brief period of time, not all the time. School leaders would be well-served to embrace this notion.
Finally, you won’t like yourself when your performance wanes. If you truly want to be an effective leader for your school and the people there, you need to schedule meaningful times for rest, recovery and renewal. Most principals don’t know when their performance is slipping until it’s already slipped. We know from productivity research that people who are tired have a more difficult time with interpersonal relationships and decision-making. (Basically… your job!)
Today is Sunday, and we will publish Leadership365 each Sunday (the 365 part, you understand), but we will use that time to feature articles about balance, priorities, wellness, health, and other topics that are a little different and more focused on you.
You will be better the rest of the week if you take time during the weekend to get yourself together. (it could be Saturday as well as Sunday, of course) Embrace the role that rest has in your performance. The top performers in every endeavor do! You should too.
Rest, recover, and renew. Get your head out of school for a little bit. Recover physically and mentally, and then renew your efforts for the coming week. You’re the leader and you set the beat. You can’t do it if you’re beaten down yourself. More to come on 3Rs, but for now, you should rest.