Steady. Calm, cool, and collected. Doesn’t get flustered. Grace under pressure. Ice water in the veins. Keeps it together.
There are a lot of things that people expect from their principal, but among the top things on the list is the ability to exhibit steady leadership even when things are stressful.
The principal has an enormous influence on the mood of others at the school! You can change the climate with your attitude on a daily basis. If you are bringing excitement, enthusiasm, and joy to your work it is contagious. On the other hand, if you’re bringing an uptightness, nervousness, and uncertainty it too will spread to others.
The people at your school are counting on you to bring things into balance. To be a calm leader that brings confidence to others by being a consistently positive and steadying influence on the school’s environment.
Here’s the issue: that’s a hard thing to do if you are out of balance yourself. It’s not easy to steady the ship with wobbly legs!
It’s like they tell you on the airplane… in the unlikely event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will descend from the compartment above you…please put on your oxygen mask before you attempt to help others. This is something that as principals we don’t always do so well with. Please remember, bringing balance to situations, people, and the operation of your school is an important part of the principalship; it’s just hard to do if you are out of balance yourself.
Balance for the principal is about:
- Spending time away from work with friends and family;
- Spending time for your own relaxation, recreation, and renewal;
- Focusing on healthy habits (sleep, diet, exercise)
- Avoiding a preoccupation with school;
- Developing strategies to manage stress.
When I work with principals, particularly new or newer ones, balance isn’t always the first thing they focus on. Most of them believe they need to reach some level of efficiency before they can really get to that. The PROBLEM with that line of thinking is that when you’re the leader who is out of balance, you don’t perform at the same high levels of effectiveness as the leader who IS in balance. So, if you’re waiting to “get caught up” before you get in balance, well… that is like the idea of “someday. “
Get balanced now. When you’re out of balance, you are more likely to struggle. When you’re not in a healthy place, you’re more likely to be aggravated by small things. You are much more susceptible to illness (colds, etc..) Your decision-making suffers. Your interpersonal skills are diminished.
Don’t wait for someday to get balanced, and don’t fall into regret that you didn’t do it yesterday. Today will be fine. Actually, today is the perfect day to reach towards the balance that can make you whole, and make you the awesome leader you were meant to be.
This is a part of an ongoing series of Eight Reasons Why Principals are Successful…or Struggle. Our first entries were: 1. Preparation; 2. Communication; 3. Leadership; 4. Judgment; 5. Confidence; 6. Time Management. Please look at earlier blog entries to see the series in entirety. Thank you!