Building the Perfect Leader

7 Jun

https://i1.wp.com/i2.cdn.turner.com/money/2009/11/19/news/companies/leadership_companies_colvin.fortune/leader_build.03.jpg

From my readings (including The Art of War!) and my NAPP inquiry this week the following is a list, by no means finite, of leadership qualities that teachers most desire in a principal. These are things as I need to keep in the forefront of my mind as the year progresses.

Build a sense of community

Perhaps the single most important quality a principal can have is the ability to create a sense of community. Effective principals understand that the adults and children in their schools need a healthy, safe and supportive environment in order to thrive. It is not only about being on the side-line of the footy field or at the gala it is walking beside staff and being seen in classrooms.  A community-building principal works to avoid teacher isolation, negativity and resistance; instead, he or she encourages an upbeat, respectful and supportive professional environment. Positive solutions and growth are the norm, not the exception.

Knows how to hire good teachers

One of the best things a principal can do for his or her school is to hire the right teachers. In addition to making sure a candidate has a strong educational background and excellent references, principals can use behavior-based interviewing techniques to get a realistic idea of how well a candidate will perform in the classroom. Behavior-based interviewing operates on the premise that past behavior best predicts future performance. Typical questions begin with, “Tell me about a time when …” or “Describe your experience with …” and can be highly effective in determining how a candidate will handle real-life situations.

Nurtures and growths professional development

Creating a Professional Learning Network (PLN) is a reoccurring theme. When teachers are presented with a clear path to advancement they are more apt to stay at their current school. By providing in-school leadership opportunities – as well as by making professional development accessible, affordable and rewarding – principals demonstrate their commitment to helping staff members grow professionally and excel in the classroom.

Advocates for the school to stakeholders

The stakeholders in any school community are families, staff, iwi, business partners and the public. Each of these categories requires different styles and approaches to engagement. For example, families may have language and cultural differences or an earlier negative experience with school officials. In order to encourage continued involvement and support, principals need to make a concerted effort to understand the priorities and preferences of the various categories of stakeholders.

Communicates Successfully

Good communication is one of the most crucial components of teacher satisfaction; the best principals will routinely examine their communication skills then apply a variety of styles through the school day. There are a few things principals can ask themselves in an on-going effort to progress in this area:

  • Who did I communicate with today, even if it was for just a brief moment?
  • Are my reasons for communicating helping lead my school through positive changes and improvements?
  • Do I communicate in a way that contributes to meaningful problem solving?
  • Does my communication style help to strengthen working relationships among my staff?
  • What areas of communication are the most difficult for me? How can I work to improve in these areas?

Great organizations require great leadership and this is especially true in education. Some of my best ideas are used by wife who is in the cooperate world. In today’s evolving educational landscape, it is more critical than ever for principals to demonstrate to their staff, students and community that they have what it takes to guide their schools to success.

 

Professional Reading:

This week Chapter 5 is a good focus. It is a synthesis so it’s a difficult read.

School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why

 

 

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