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Top Ten Tips for Inspirational 21st Century Principals

Top Ten Tips for Inspirational 21st Century Principals

Walking along the beach this morning, with grey skies and cold winds, I couldn’t help but think about my many friends and colleagues working in northern hemisphere schools as they prepare for the new school year to commence.

It’s an exciting time and one where Principals need to capture the hearts and minds of their teachers. I reflected on the opening addresses I have given to many teachers over the years and remembered the planning, creativity and care I invested in these presentations.

I’ve always felt very excited as the school year begins and believe it is a perfect time to engage and inspire the school community.  My goals have always been to ignite and inspire both teachers and students to embrace the new school year with passion, optimism and hope; and to set personal goals to continue their growth and development as knowledgeable and compassionate global citizens.

Here are my Top Tips for Principals who want to inspire and ignite their teachers.

  1. Be a voracious learner and an avid reader.
  2. Find something that has touched your heart recently. Perhaps something you read over the holiday break or a story of something that has happened to you or someone you admire. Some of my favorites over the years have been The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us and  A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink, Mindset: How You Can Fulfill Your Potental by Carol Dweck, Truth, Beauty and Goodness Reframed: Educating for the Virtues in the 21st Century by Howard Gardner and Great by Choice by Jim Collins.
  3. Use a passage, a quote or an anecdote from the book or story you have chosen to highlight the mission and vision of your school.
  4. Use Presentation Zen or make a movie using creative visuals to further enhance your message.
  5. During your presentation, include an invitation to your audience to take part in a noble action aligned to the school’s mission and vision for all to aspire to over the course of the year.
  6. Consider using music and YouTube videos to embed into your presentation too. Remember you want to engage Generation Y, X and Baby Boomers.  Some of my favorites are Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole singing Somewhere over the Rainbow, Christina Aguilera & Pitbull singing Feel this Moment, and Nina Simone singing Feelin Good but make sure you use your own favorites. It’s really important for your team to get to know the personal side of you, it will help them believe in you and trust you.
  7. End your presentation with a call to action in which all can aspire over the year ahead, eg Together we can build, create etc etc. Remember to refer to your presentation theme/message at various opportunities throughout the year, you don’t want it to die you want it to mobilize action.
  8. Invite all teachers for individual personal chats or personal conversations with you during first term. Offer them quality coffee or tea. Ask questions and listen to the answers. This will enable you to learn about your teachers’ passions, interests and concerns. You will be able to harness their passions and interests for innovative and creative projects with real buy-in throughout the year or years ahead. This will add significantly to staff morale and your school community.
  9. As a 21st Century Principal, who is also an instructional leader and a lead learner as Michael Fullan describes, you can apply the above strategies to any faculty meetings or professional development training over the year to continue to inspire and uplift your teachers and model your focus on learning.
  10. By using the above strategies, you will focus your thinking on the WHY of where your school is heading and you will also encourage and inspire others to join you for the journey.

If you would like more advice on how to be an inspirational 21st Century Principal why not attend the Leadership for the 21st Century workshop or contact Maxine to find out more about personalized Leadership Coaching.



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