01 Jan Top 10 Success Tips for 2015
So you want to be a great School Leader and you know that leading schools is exciting, challenging, purposeful, rewarding and also very difficult. Here are some valuable tips to make sure you drive your school forward and develop students who are compassionate and inspired global citizens.
- The number one success factor is to take care of you! Take responsible actions to ensure you are healthy and fit in mind, body and soul. Many people depend on you and you can’t lead anyone if you can’t lead yourself. So build in times for exercise, healthy eating, meditation and rest. Yes, I used to think this was nonsense; I could burn the candle at both ends. But when I reflect on my most successful leadership times, it was when I had ‘me’ in good shape. So take the time to develop a Personal Plan that works for you. Make it simple and make sure you set yourself SMART goals. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t stick to it all the time; aim for a consistent 80% performance rate every week and you will be surprised at your overall leadership success and well-being over the coming year.
- Never forget how important your family and friends are to you. Make times in your daily and weekly schedules for those most dear to you. They are the ones who will support you when the chips are down and they will love you unconditionally for being you. Remember, on your deathbed these are the people with whom you will wish you had spent more time. Make sure you plan those times now!
- Think Strategically! Focus on the important, not the urgent. Art Costa (author of Habits of Mind) taught me to always ask myself “What is the most intelligent thing I can do now?” Jack Canfield (author of The Success Principles) taught me not to complain, criticize or blame. Instead, always have a positive plan in place. Develop a personal 90-day plan that includes, health, family, positive mindset, spirituality and adventures. Then plan your professional 90-day action plan, using the school’s annual Action Plan or the school’s Strategic Plan. Create mini-goals each day from both your personal and your professional plan. Five of each is plenty, and make sure you check them off at the end of each day. Instead of worrying what you didn’t get done, take note of the important goals you do achieve. This strategy really boosts your sense of achievement, your mental health, your energy levels and your sleep patterns!
- Focus on your teaching teams and developing talent. Develop healthy professional relationships with your staff. Ask questions about their interests, their families and value each person for being a unique individual. Offer praise whenever you see or hear of noteworthy actions or innovations by individuals or teams. Offer teachers opportunities to showcase their diverse talents, let them trial or pilot something new, empower them to take on new challenges. Remember to lead from the heart and be there to support if something goes wrong, gently role-modeling that we actually learn the most from our most difficult challenges and failures.
- Be a cheerleader for your school. Tell the world of the amazing achievements of your students, your teachers and your community. Inspire, motivate and empower all in your school community to be the best they can be and to be passionate about a greater purpose beyond oneself.
- Remember that the bottom line in any school is learning and that every adult in the school community should be focusing on what is the best way we can ensure our students are learning and cared for every single day.
- Make the time to read and learn from the experts. Professional Journals and Periodicals are good. I also suggest checking the latest publications, for example, The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact (2014) by Michael Fullan, Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn (2013) by John Hattie & Gregory Yates, Awaken the Learner: Finding the Source of Effective Education (2014) by Robert Marzano and Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World (2014) by Yong Zhao.
- Understand that it is 2015 and your school is a 21st Century School, catering for Generation Z and Generation Alpha. Take the time to conduct an informal audit of your school. Stroll around the buildings and visit the classrooms. If you note classrooms and practices that were in place when you went to school, then it’s time to think about some innovation and change. All students currently in school are Gen Z and Gen Alpha kids. They are more intelligent, more globally aware and more technologically savvy than any previous generations. They are global change agents! Is your school catering to their learning needs? Is your school preparing them for their futures? Get a team together and plan some actions, both short and long-term, to create an innovative 21st Century School.
- Remember that it’s actually not about you! It’s about them. It’s what you can do for your students, teachers and parents. You need to see it from their perspective, talk to them, ask questions and listen to their answers. If you feel you do need someone to talk to then organize a mentor, someone who you can trust and see him or her regularly.
- Carpe Diem! Yes, seize each day! See the opportunities and possibilities. Grab them! Be creative! Give it the best you’ve got and you will surprise yourself as you grow into an extraordinary leader.
If you would like more help to improve your leadership capabilities or your strategic visioning contact Maxine at Think Strategic for Schools.