Using the “We’re here for the kids” Guilt Trip
Great principals know not to give teachers that guilt trip reminder that, “We’re here for the kids.” Ineffective leaders often use that condescending line when something they propose is met with questions or a lack of enthusiasm. Of course teachers are there for the kids. If staff aren’t there for the students, then that’s the job of the principal to address.
Ignoring Under Performance
Whilst processes for managing ineffective staff are often cumbersome and draining, NOT addressing unsatisfactory performance isn’t the answer. Failing to address the situation sends the wrong message to the rest of the staff. The behaviour you turn a blind eye to is the behaviour you accept.
Hiding in Your Office
School based decision making is a great thing. I believe that Principals are in the best position to make great decisions about the use of resources to benefit their students. However, it is important that principalsavoid being buried in “administivia” and spend all day hidden in their office. Spending time in classrooms, playgrounds and staff rooms is essential for keeping connected and making informed decisions.
Being a Martyr
Time is one of the most precious commodities we have. It is important that Principals value their own time. “What is the best use of the time I have available?” is a question that we should ask ourselves regularly throughout the day. Are you working on the activities that matter and make a difference in your school or are you procrastinating?
The mantra “Only do what only YOU can do!” applies to principals as well as other industry leaders. It is important that principals allocate admin resources to support them to use their time efficiently. If you are spending time doing low level, admin tasks then you are not using your time efficiently.
Be careful making statements such as, “We can’t afford it! It takes teacher aide time away from students!” Don’t feel guilty or be a martyr. Utilising a small amount of funding to allow you to do the BIG picture, important aspects of leading have a leverage affect. If you are 5% more effective, so are the people you lead. If you are leading 20 teachers and they are 5% more effective – that is a MASSIVE impact!
Wasting Time and Energy Whinging
We have a limited amount of time and energy each day. I believe it is a waste of both time and energy to spend it whinging and complaining. People don’t care how busy you are, they care how busy they are. Staff want a leader who is passionate, dedicated, supportive, realistic and optimistic. It is vital to remember that your attitude, as a leader, is contagious. Make sure your attitude is worth catching.