How Do Great Educational Leaders Stay Great?

It seems like every week, I read an article announcing the firing of a K-12 superintendent or a university president. What perplexes me is that many of these education leaders were effective for most of their careers, but slowly started to decline. In the end, they lost their edge. This leads me to the question; how do great educational leaders stay great? In this article, we will discuss this topic in depth. Without further ado, here are 4 ways that educational leaders can stay great.

  1. Read everything. If you are an educational leader who wants to experience longevity, then you have to be a voracious reader. Not only do you want to read articles, research studies, books, and case studies that pertain to education, you also want to read about topics such as business, politics, economics, sports, etc. You want your knowledge base to be well-rounded. Why? Because, when making decisions and putting them into action, you can use your expanded knowledge base to understand the complexities and nuances of a situation.
  2. Network for knowledge. It has been said that iron sharpens iron and this is undoubtedly true in the education leadership arena. Make sure you regularly meet with other education leaders to discuss trends, pain points, self-care tips, etc. You will walk away feeling refreshed and better equipped to lead. If you need help making a decision or with a project, call up one of your colleagues and ask for help.
  3. Go to school. Learn to be honest with yourself about areas in which you need to grow. Consider taking a course or attending a workshop or conference that will help you obtain the skills and expertise that you need. If you are busy and need some help facilitating this, ask your director of professional learning to present you with some options.
  4. Know when its time to leave. Sometimes staying excellent means resigning while you are on the top of your game, but before your abilities and desire start to wane. That way you get to leave on your own terms and cement your legacy as a great educational leader.

What did we miss? Do you have any advice for education leaders who want to enjoy a long and prosperous career? If so, you can post your ideas in the comments section below.

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