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Top 5 Strategies of New 21st Century School Leaders

Top 5 Strategies of New 21st Century School Leaders

Leading in the 21st Century requires a new set of skills, dispositions and behaviors.

Yes, there are some traditional leadership skills that can be transferred into the 21st Century, but the old hierarchical model does not work any more.

There’s a new breed of 21st Century School Leaders emerging who focus on sustaining superior performance by aligning people around mission and values and empowering leaders at all levels, while concentrating on serving students and parents and collaborating throughout the organization to innovate, disrupt and change to meet the needs of 21st Century Learners. It’s exciting!

New 21st Century School Leaders are recreating schools around the world by:

1. Aligning

Aligning people around the school’s mission and shared values is paramount. Teachers today are searching for genuine satisfaction and meaning from their work and the most successful leaders know this and use their advanced strategic thinking and emotional intelligence skills to align their faculty and indeed, the whole school community. Aligned faculty commit to the mission and values of the school because they want to be part of something greater than themselves.

2. Empowering

Successful 21st Century School Leaders empower leaders at all levels and develop sophisticated accountability systems to ensure commitments are met. Empowered leaders set standards of excellence for other teachers and contribute to a positive and proactive school culture.

3. Serving

Successful 21st Century School Leaders know that their first obligation is to students and parents and they ensure the school offers superior value to satisfy customers and motivate teachers thus creating a thriving learning organization.

4. Collaborating

Successful 21st Century School Leaders foster a collaborative spirit and develop a culture of trust, eliminating internal politics and focusing on internal cooperation, growth and development.  They actively and collectively break down the silos that keep people from collaborating and creating.

5. Innovating, Disrupting and Changing

Successful 21st Century School Leaders know that schools must re-create themselves to meet the needs of 21st Century Learners. They embrace disruption, innovation and change by unlocking the collective genius and talent in their school community to generate new ideas and innovations. They are knowledgeable about and understand the drivers of change and the major disruptions effecting education. They set the stage and create the conditions for ongoing innovation and change in their schools.


Want to learn more? Come along to my next workshop in Melbourne, Australia on 6 May or Chiang Mai, Thailand on 5 & 6 July and discover the new generation leadership skills, tools and strategies that will make you an awesome 21st Century School Leader. Oh and why not empower more leaders at your school and bring them along too.

For more information on Leadership for the 21st Century workshop click here or to further your training in a more formal setting, consider enrolling in an international education masters degree.


I look forward to seeing you soon.


Reference: Bill George’s Harvard Business School article, “The New Leaders: Collaborative, Not Commanding.”


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