School leadership has never been easy. Given how quickly technology is changing and how extensively the global economic landscape is shifting, school leadership has gotten that much harder.
What distinguishes one school leader from another is his/her ability to move from barely hanging in, to keeping up, to paving the way. While the gap between barely hanging in to paving the way has always been great, it’s clearly increasing. I’d argue the same for the growing gap between keeping up and paving the way. In fact, I’d say that now, more than ever, it’s getting more and more difficult to go from good to great.
To do that, I believe school leaders need to do the following:
- Keep learning: This is no longer an option. It’s a requirement for the job.
- Learn in person and online: In-person learning may be most comfortable, but it’s time to get uncomfortable. There are lots of how-to resources out there. Get online, build a presence, and get learning.
- Measure your performance: Maintain metrics on your performance that include goals and data on the professional and the personal. Be the keeper of your own data. Hold yourself accountable to key metrics that you can speak to and use to mark progress.
- Build a robust network: You’re going to need it. Working in schools used to mean job security. That’s no longer the case. Be sure to maintain and continue to build your personal and professional network. It’s another way to keep learning. It’s another metric by which to measure your performance.
- Create and contribute: Don’t just consume. Share your knowledge and expertise. Ask questions. Challenge and argue. Oh. And do it online. Strengthen your online voice. Others will Google you. Make sure you’re out there as you want to be seen and heard.
- Build capacity in others: You can’t and shouldn’t do this work alone and you shouldn’t want to.
- Communicate effectively: Do this in writing, online, in person, and all the many ways leaders need to communicate. Say things early and often and with great clarity.
- Set clear expectations and craft a powerful vision: Inspire. Tell powerful stories. Draw on meaningful data.
Let’s start with these eight. How are you doing with each one? Which ones am I missing?