4 Pitfalls That Education Leaders Should Avoid

Being an educational leader is hard. It requires you to work long hours, make hundreds of decisions a day, and to be on top of your game at all times. Of these requirements, the later is the most overlooked. When it is, education leaders run the risk of falling into several traps that could have been avoided if they were more focused on the intricacies and nuances of their leadership position. In this article, we will discuss several pitfalls that leaders need to be aware of. With this information in hand, they will be better positioned to avoid them.

  1. Ignoring or overlooking potential problems. You would think that education leaders would be some of the most proactive people on earth, but unfortunately, many are not. With so many problems coming at them they are often tempted to table some for a later date, to give themselves a moment to breathe. However, this is a mistake. Problems that are allowed to linger often become the bane of a leader’s existence. They end up kicking themselves when they realize that they should have addressed the issue before it became a significant problem and saved them themselves a lot of grief. So don’t fall into this avoidable trap, and always take a proactive approach to even minor issues.
  2. Becoming complacent. Many leaders become complacent in good times, thinking that their school or district has been calibrated for future success. This is a mistake, as becoming complacent can cause you to miss out on new trends and technologies because you believe that the current system is working just fine. Instead of becoming complacent, practice a philosophy of continuous improvement. This means that you should always be reviewing your current processes, methods, policies, etc. to ensure that they are working at an optimal level. Even if things are working fine, you want them to be great. Think of it as tinkering towards perfection, although you will never get there.
  3. Being resistant to change. As professionals, there is one thing that we will always have to deal with: change. Even if you are the CEO of your own company, if you want to survive and stay out of bankruptcy court, you will embrace the idea of change. Unfortunately, a lot of education leaders do themselves, their employees, and most importantly, the students, a disservice by blindly clinging to the past. You know the type; they are slow to adopt a new policy, teaching method, or tech trend merely because they are married to the old way of doing things. If this is you; stop it immediately, and learn to embrace change as a gift and not a curse.
  4. Not developing talent. As an education leader, part of your job is developing the knowledge and skills around you. For instance, if you are a university dean of education, you are responsible for making sure that the professors and instructors under your leadership are the best educators that they can be. If they are not, their students will be unprepared for classroom teaching. Don’t just sit in your office and wait until formal evaluation time to discuss someone’s horrendous student evaluations. Go be an instructional leader. Conduct informal evaluations of your professor’s teaching, and if their methods need work, sit down with them to work out an improvement plan.

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