If you are fortunate you will have worked with great school leaders who have been wonderful role models for you. However, we can also learn what NOT to do from leaders we have worked for.
In their great book, “How to Become a Great Boss”, Gino Wickman and Rene Boer suggest that leaders need to have four different types of capacity to be a great boss.
They encourage us to reflect on, “Do I have the emotional, intellectual, physical and time capacity to be a great leader?”
Leaders need to have the heart to feel what others are feeling and a willingness to be real and connect with others. They need the capacity to be able to walk a mile in other’s shoes to understand the challenges they face. Emotional capacity also includes the ability to be open and honest with yourself and others. It is important to be humbly confident and to be self-aware enough to know how you are influencing other people. There is a fine line between being your own harshest critic and so delusional that you think you are super human.
The brains to do the work of leading. Leaders need the ability to anticipate, prioritise, think critically, strategise, systematize, solve complex problems and plan. F. Scott Fitzgerald describes intelligence as “the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
The energy, tenacity and stamina to do what it takes to finish what you start. Many leaders are great ‘starters’ but as a leader it is also important to be a great ‘finisher’. It is vital that leaders get their hands dirty when necessary and devote the time and energy to implementation and completing projects and initiatives.
Effective leaders need to have the self-discipline to use their time well. Wickham and Boer say they need “to avoid the tyranny of urgency, to structure, prioritise, organise and delegate in a way that frees up and optimizes the most precious resource of all – your time.
If you have worked in schools for any period of time, you’ve probably worked for a not-to-good boss. You will have witnessed firsthand how a leader who lacks any of the four types of capacity has a negative impact on a team, a department or a whole school.
Whilst it can be easy to see fault in others, it is an astute leader who can accurately identify their weakness and address it proactively.