Is Your Education Leadership Style Outdated?

Many education leaders have lost their competitive edge. You know the type; they have been in leadership roles for decades and refuse to evolve or develop the substance that it takes to be a sustainable leader. Instead of attending education leadership workshops, conferences, etc., they are ok with being complacent and refuse to improve their skills.

They do not understand that education leadership is a fluid position that changes often. Being an effective education leader is hard work, and requires you to have a grand vision, patience, and peerless decision-making skills.

In the not so distant past, an education leader could get away with being marginal, as the pressure to perform was not that high. All you needed to do was keep the teachers from planning a mutiny, the kids from burning down the building, and parents happy. Now, with the accountability era reaching its fourth decade, education leaders everywhere are expected to perform a high level.

In the face of new pressures, transformative education leaders continually reinvent themselves. This ensures that they always have their finger on the pulse of the moment and that their leadership style will always be relevant. In a nutshell, their approach to leadership is to be proactive and continuously improve.

So now we finally get to the million-dollar question. Is your education leadership style relevant or woefully outdated? To help you figure this out, here are four warnings signs that signal that it’s time to consider a change in your leadership approach and style.

  1. You make bad decisions. If you find that you are starting to make uncharacteristically bad decisions and people are starting to question your judgment, then its time to consider a leadership style change. When education leaders start to make bad decisions consistently, it’s a sign that they are out of touch with the times. They need to reset and learn how things work in the here and now, not how they worked years ago. For instance, a principal that has been in their position for 30 years may be accustomed to making gut decisions about curricular or resource adjustments, but this is woefully outdated. Nowadays, education administrators use data-driven decision making.
  2. You grow complacent. The moment you become complacent, your ability to be an effective education leader will begin to nosedive. When you grow complacent, you stop growing, and your attention to the small things starts to wane. After that, you lose your executive presence, risk-taking ability, and creativity.
  3. People stop liking you. To be a great education leader, people must like you. If they don’t, you need to change your leadership style. This usually happens when you forget how to be a great leader. For instance, most people measure a great leader based on the number of leaders that they create. If you rarely delegate tasks and projects, your employees might get restless and feel like all they do is grunt work. Because of this, they probably won’t like you or respect your leadership, as they feel that you are holding them back. Develop a reputation for growing your employees and for being approachable. Then, you will have no problem getting people to like you.
  4. You stop reinventing yourself. If you don’t evolve and continuously reinvent yourself, you will not last long as an education leader. This is a pivotal success factor of leadership. To do this, keep your pulse on the trends and issues in education and education leadership. Also, you will need to be a voracious learner; so, attend workshops, read books, attend conferences, etc. Remember, if you can’t reinvent yourself, how will you reinvent your school or district in the face of financial and governmental pressures? Education leaders who don’t reinvent themselves get stuck in a funk and find their career path limited.

Now ask yourself again, is your leadership style outdated?

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