Being a Top Principal

27 Jul

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While meeting with my critical friend this week we got into an interesting discussion about being a principal. I have been in girls’ schools for some eight years now after nine years in boy’s schools. I must admit the experience has made me a better practitioner and leader. I believe that men and women can be equally as effective as school principals. I have noted that at times women work harder to prove they are the equal of men.
I believe that a good principal is a gentle principal. I have developed my own understanding of “Gentle”, in the development of my idea of Gentle Leadership. My own servant leadership beliefs meet well with this. I see my own leadership like well-tanned leather. The metaphor in this is that well-tanned leather has an external surface that is tough, resilient and flexible. The right thing is done for the right reasons. Gentle leadership has none of the brittle nature of glass, nor the inflexibility and sharpness of steel.
Gentle leadership implies that the leader listens to all, considers well, considers the philosophy and background of the context and then tries to develop solutions with wisdom and sensitivity, combined with determination to challenge those who want the wrong things for the wrong reasons. To me, this kind of leadership is not gender specific. It requires a personal philosophy, empathy and a solid dose of determination. Men and women are equally capable of this kind of leadership.

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