Today, the median salary for a school principal is close to $100,000 — nearly double that of a teacher. Next to teachers, a strong and effective instructional leader is the second most important human resource in any school building. As an instructional leader, the expectation is that you model, coach and mentor to build leadership capacity in others to create the conditions where everyone can meet with success.
Being a leader means also being able to identify, invest and develop talent in others to meet future needs, create critical mass and build a pipeline. This makes the leader’s job easier because they build an internal cadre of other leaders who they can share responsibility with, gather feedback from, and create learning opportunities for, as they advance the school or organization’s vision together.
The best leaders create a solid team culture, such that the school or organization can still run effectively in their absence. They have cultivated effective relationships, and empowered others to make decisions.
Let’s take a look at some strategies for developing your bench of leaders by having a leadership development strategy in place that builds other leaders, instead of just followers:
Leadership Development Strategy Builds True Leaders
A real leadership development strategy creates qualified and prepared candidates for future roles, rather than just filling vacancies or creating empty promotions. In building future leaders, there must be intentional planning for creating the right growth and learning opportunities. For example, as an assistant principal, it is important to learn about budget and financial aspects that would be beneficial when the assistant becomes a principal themselves. This means the principal must be willing to share learning, even when “just doing it yourself” might be faster or easier.
Identify the key behaviors, core skills and functions that are most important in the role of the leader. Be clear on the leadership needs of your school or organization – in the present, but also into the future. Next identify those who might have the greatest potential to assume a leadership role, but who can be further developed so that leadership responsibilities can be shared. Identify the right people, plan for transitions, and create a training and development plan to build leadership in those who are identified.
Many leadership programs in colleges and schools of education may provide theoretical knowledge, but real leaders are best groomed through practical application. As a leader, you create opportunities for future leaders to marry theory with practice.
Leaders Are In Every Classroom
How we define leadership may sometimes be tied to a title. Teacher Leadership happens every day and in every classroom. Leading learning, creating a culture for success, being an effective planner – all things teachers do on a daily basis, and also the best qualities in any leader. Leaders should look into classrooms to identify high potential employees- those with both the skill and will to take on new challenges and welcome opportunities to be stretched. Find those who embody the vision and mission of your school or organization, those who understand the goals and have deep interest in governance, operations and a desire to lead. Don’t assume that previous formal leadership experience is a pre-requisite for those who should be tapped. Remember that skills can be taught, but attitude and will are strong indicators of potential.
Leadership Doesn’t Have To Be A Lonely Job
One of the main complaints of leaders is that there is a certain level of loneliness at the top. It doesn’t have to be that way at all. When faced with challenges, an effective leader should tap into the team culture he or she has created. Leaders shouldn’t neglect the power of the relationships they build, with teachers, students, parents, members of their leadership team, and anyone who they can work with to impact the greater good of the school. These are all opportunities for developing the leadership skills of others. This may take a more formal development approach, like that of a principal grooming an assistant principal, or can be informal, like working with students and parents to help develop better leadership of the PTSA or Student Government. In all of these instances, a leader has the potential to influence others, build their capacity and create a culture of shared leadership.
Solid leaders set the tone and standards for the organization. People that work with these leaders become more skilled and motivated as a result. Every leader can be built from the ground up if they work with someone committed to investing in their development.
Build A Sound Leadership Development Strategy With Us
Need to identify and develop leadership potential in your school? We can provide executive coaching, leadership development, and professional training.
We take education seriously at the Valbrun Consulting Group. Let us put your school in a position to succeed.
Take the time to contact us to learn more.
Ms. Valda Valbrun is an established Educational Leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, a systems change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion.