My Leadership Truths

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It’s been a while since I have posted here – not because there aren’t amazing things to share; actually, the opposite is true. There has been so much going on at Greystone this school year. The strong learning focus among students and staff this year has raised the bar in terms of what is possible when we are all committed to shared goals about how to provide powerful learning for our kids. The truth is, I am now seeing our teachers and students sharing the learning experiences themselves through their own blog posts and on twitter. As a result, I am not feeling as compelled to do the sharing myself…this is a good thing. The team doesn’t need me to capture the highlights in my blog posts – they are doing that on their own. This leads me to this blog post.

The above quote was shared with me a couple of years ago by one of our amazing Greystone Teachers. Since that time, it has become my favourite quote on leadership – and it is something I strive to live out in my work at Greystone Centennial Middle School.

I have been thinking a lot about leadership lately – mostly because I have the privilege to work in a school community that has so many outstanding teacher leaders. Throughout the past several years, I have been very keen to develop a deeper understanding around the concept of leadership and to this end, I have done a lot of reading, I have taken courses and I have reflected on my own experiences which have helped to shape my perspective on this topic. While it would be ridiculous to try and pull together all of my insights and understandings about something so complicated as leadership in one blog post, I do feel that I am able to share my own short list of basic truths for what I believe are crucial to success as a school leader. So, in no particular order, exemplary school leadership requires:

– skill in magnifying the strengths of others
– listening more than speaking
– having conversations that end with others feeling that the experience has left them better than they were before
– serving others and putting their needs before the needs of myself
– expecting the best from myself and others and seeing the best in myself and others
– objective ongoing observations of the complex school community dynamics in order to make an honest diagnosis of what needs to be done to grow and improve
– willingness to put ego on the shelf and do whatever it takes to make the organization better – including admitting to mistakes
– strong, clear, shared vision about what is important
– understanding that the vision can only be achieved with the combined efforts and talents of a dedicated team
– hope

That is all.

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