Better By Accident?

My granddaddy used to say, “Tighten up every little chance you get. ‘Better’ doesn’t happen all by itself.” That’s probably true in all areas of life. But it’s especially true for school leaders.

So here are three fundamental areas to help you become a better school leader.

Communicate Effectively

Effective communication is critical, both in the office and in life. Great principals ensure they listen more than they speak, and speak more than they think they need to. When listening:

  • Pay Close Attention
  • Set Aside Any Distractions
  • Take Notes Afterward If You Need to Follow Up

When speaking:

  • Be concise.
  • Repeat the main message.
  • Use multiple formats.

Know Your Limits

Even the most passionate and talented principal has limits. Develop the self-awareness needed, so you can set your boundaries and stick to them. Define your values and personal vision for the school, and run all decisions through those.

Boundaries allow you to focus your work. Focused work is productive work.

Keep Meetings Productive

As the saying goes, time is money. In education, time is more valuable than money. It’s the only resource we have the most control over.

Approach meetings with well-planned and disciplined agendas. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Just ensure you have a focus and don’t meander into micromanaging.

Bonus Tip: Join a generous and private leadership network like this one to practice, gain peer feedback, and continuous hone your school leadership skills.

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