5 Things That are Bad for Good Organizational Leadership (and what you might try instead)

Foolish pride.  Pride is good.  We should be proud of ourselves and we should be proud of one another.  Sensible pride celebrates accomplishment and perpetuates cultures of collaboration.  It comes along with humility and it invites partnerships.  Foolish pride comes along with frustration and it invites contention.  It diminishes relationships and highlights friction.  There is a significant difference between being proud and being prideful.  Be proud.

Standing alone.  Organizational leadership suggests multiple parties having a stake.  As a building principal I am surrounded by incredible people who are generally willing, able, and even excited to partner with me and one another on efforts to achieve our common goal of excellence in teaching and learning that leads to student wellbeing and achievement.  I could either try to work on that goal by my self or I could take advantage of their willingness, abilities, and excitement by actively engaging in those would-be partnerships.  No question.  Enough said.

Wallowing.  Lots of stuff happens every day, in every organization.  That’s especially true for schools.  Some of that stuff is wonderful, some is neither here nor there, and some can be kind of frustrating.  In organizational leadership it’s not out of the realm of possibility to go from really awesome moments directly into really challenging moments.  In fact, it’s likely that most organizational leaders move in and out of each all the time.  In and out is the key to positive progress.  Don’t get dragged down by the hard times.  Keep moving.

Personalizing.  Trust me, it’s not about you.  Even if it is about you, if you’re working from a base of your core values, if you’re staying focused on your personal and organizational missions, if you’re genuinely seeking to understand and serve your stakeholders, and if you are authentically wishing people well along the way, give yourself permission to not take “it” personally.  Keep yourself squarely framed in a professional, organizational outlook aimed at progress. Employ compassion but reject blame and/or drama.

Insisting.  Organizational leaders have to give directives.  An important aspect of our jobs is to mandate certain things.  We have to be able to do so in ways that encourage those we serve to buy in.  When people are passionate about the work they’re doing, that work tends to be enhanced.  Autonomy is good for passion.  I once had a wonderful mentor who taught me that it’s more effective to “invite” than it is to “insist,” and in practice, I’ve found that to be true.

How do you lead?  What are you doing that you might reconsider?  In what ways are you working to build your capacity for maximum service to your organization or community?

Live. Learn. Lead.


Dream Big. Work Hard. Be Well.

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