Lead! It’s What Successful Principals Do

One of the differences between successful principals and those who struggle is the capacity to lead.  What does that mean?

Many people who attain the position of principal have gotten there because they can get things accomplished.  They are doers, workers, task-driven and on-time.  Those are great qualities and traits and are important if you’re a principal, but perhaps more important is your ability to get others to be the best they can be.  To collectively build a vision and spread that vision everywhere you go.  To delegate. To empower.  To inspire.  To lead!

When they threw you to the wolves did you come back leading the pack?

One of the shifts that new principals have to make as they move up from their work as the assistant principal is to become the leader.  The truth is, everyone doesn’t like being the leader.  A big realization that you reach as the principal is that your success depends upon your ability to get others to be successful.  You can’t do it alone.  You can’t even manage every piece of it.  You are leading the orchestra, not beating the drum anymore and that is a different skill set, but one that is needed to be the leader.

How do you get to be more effective in “leading”? If you aren’t yet a principal but want to be, seek experiences in which you are able to “be in charge” and to lead.  Make mistakes.  Reflect and learn from them.  The more that you experience, the better you can become. (as long as you have a feedback, reflection, revision loop).

If you’re already a principal, you get better as a leader by spending time with other people who do what you do, or have done what you are doing.  Leadership tends to gravitate towards isolation unless you are intentional about your growth.  Get in a cohort,  learn from other practitioners, talk about it.  Read about leaders and how they are able to get other people to join them in the journey to success.

Bow your neck and let the greatness that resides in you be shown for everyone to see!



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This is part of a series of Eight Reasons Why Principals Are Successful… Or Struggle.  It began on January 30. Please check back over the posts beginning then to see the series in entirety.  Thank you! Mark

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