Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Becoming a Better Leader

As you climb higher on the school leadership ladder, the pyramid begins to get more narrow. On any campus, there is obviously more teaching staff than there are campus administrators. It is easy to feel lonely and isolated if you are not careful. You may have heard the saying, "It is lonely at the top," this can become your reality if you allow it to be. 

I realize that an organization's effectiveness is proportionate to the strength of its leadership. It is for that reason that I continuously strive to grow and develop my skills as a leader so that I can create positive, lasting change on my campus. As a connected leader, I regularly participate in Twitter chats, Voxer discussions and book studies. All these things have helped me learn and grow; nonetheless, I kept noticing a common thread among successful leaders that I was missing - a mentor.

A year ago, while in my second year as a campus administrator, I made the decision to join a mastermind group. This group is made up of campus leaders from all across the country, each with a unique background and diverse level of experience. We have a virtual meeting each week during which we discuss a book we are all reading together and have an opportunity to reflect and share what we are learning. An important part of the meeting is called, the hot seat. Each week a different member of the mastermind group has an opportunity to be on the hot seat and is able to get feedback and bounce ideas off members of the group about an issue or situation they are working through. 

Participating in this leadership mastermind group has increased my leadership capacity. These focused and intentional interactions have shaped and solidify my leadership values and beliefs. It provides me a safe place where I can all be genuine, vulnerable and transparent. It gives me an inside look at the situations other administrators face and how they worked through it. I am not only learning from my own experiences, I also get to learn from theirs. 

For years, when I read about mentors in different leadership books, I just glossed over it and kept on reading. Honestly, I thought I did not need a mentor, I was doing just fine on my own. Being part of a mastermind has accelerated my growth and bumped me to the next level in my leadership. When I first began, I was an assistant principal just beginning. My mastermind encouraged me to go for the principalship job - and I did! In the fall, I will be opening a new school as the principal! I am grateful to my mentors who believe in me, encouraged and guided me through the process.
If you are ready to take your leadership to the next level and pull out all the stops, I encourage you to find a mentor. Find a person or a group of people that share similar interest and passions start your journey!

Although it may sound like one, this is not an advertisement. This is just me just trying to encourage you, to take the next step so you can get greater results. It is time to reach new heights!

If you would like to join a mastermind group similar to mine, reach out to Daniel Bauer on Twitter, he organizes mine. Daniel is the creator of a popular school leader podcast called Better Leaders, Better Schools and is highly recognized and respected in the field.