The following 27 tips and tricks are designed to help principals (new and seasoned) fulfill their leadership role. If you can help add to my list, you may win a special prize for you and 5 of the teachers in your school! Keep reading to find out how...
Maintain a positive attitude – You set the stage for your school just as your teachers set the stage for their classrooms.
Pick your battles – Realize that not every issue needs to be addressed. Identify what you stand for and fight for what is important.
Be your own cheerleader – Constantly tell yourself, “You can do it!” Find within yourself the strength and courage to keep going.
Don’t expect to win the popularity contest – Decisions you have to make will never please everyone. Do what's is right, not what will help others like you.
Understand that schools build character – An effective leader has the power to help students and teachers grow and learn in profound ways.
Put children first – Don’t let media or political agendas get in the way of deciding what’s best for your students’ needs and learning.
Connect with other principals and administrators – Find out what they are doing in their school. See what is and isn’t working for them and come up with solutions together.
Embrace technology – Realize that it’s here to stay... now learn how to become a leader in it.
Keep the central office informed – They can be your allies or your critics, so be sure to ask for advice and let them know stories of your journey along the way.
Acknowledge and respect your predecessors - Keep in mind that ghosts of the past can haunt the school.
Remember the #1 rule of customer service – When it comes to your students, faculty, and parents you should always kill them with kindness.
Once you walk across the Principal threshold, relationships change – Recognize that you are now viewed as the ultimate authority in school by parents, former colleagues, and students.
Don’t change anything the first year – Focus on personal learning by observing and building relationships. Teachers resent change, so make sure that any change you later propose had better be worth it and acknowledged by most as needed.
Meet with your faculty regularly – Prepare teachers ahead of time about what will be discussed, and be respectful of people’s time. Keep the meetings short if at all possible.
Assign leadership roles – Design a school-wide discipline plan with your teacher leaders and decide who will handle what and what will be the penalties for a range of behavior infractions.
Don’t think teachers want you as their friend – They need someone who will make sure the school is running properly.
Write notes of appreciation – Never devalue the simple act of thanking your staff for doing a great job.
Refer angry parents to speak to the teacher first – If a problem is not resolved after talking to the teacher, have them contact you to help improve the situation.
Offer teachers meaningful professional development – Make sure that anything presented to them is worth their time and effort.
Don’t forget your own professional development – Spend time reflecting on your leadership, continue to learn by reading, attending professional meetings, and conversing with other administrators.
Accept that you are not perfect – And realize that concept applies to others as well.
Don’t be a workaholic – Take care of yourself and your teachers. Encourage your staff to go home to a healthy and balanced life.
Have a vision for your school – You must believe in your vision if you hope to inspire your staff to get on board with the same goals.
Embrace new ideas – If you or one of your teachers discover something new, get everyone involved by learning and exploring together.
Always remember that communication is key – Observations with formative feedback go a long way in helping your teachers meet your expectations.
Be an advocate – Get to know your teachers; become their biggest fan and supporter.
Lead by example – Start each day by saying to yourself, “I’m going to be the principal I’d like to work for.”