Growing up in a competitive society it’s difficult to wrap your mind around losing. As a former All American Athlete at the University of Michigan, failure was something that got you blasted by your friends and teammates. In the athletic arena failing teaches you that you have to try harder, work out longer, change your techniques to compensate for weaknesses and rely on your teammates and coaches to put you in the best possible position to win.
In business failure can be even more cut throat and means you could lose your job. In education, the stakes are even higher and failure could mean destroying a child’s life. Under these circumstances it’s hard to risk failure and try new things. However as a Principal you are in a leadership position in order to make decisions in which failure is a real possibility. Below are three reasons you should want to fail and fail quickly.
Trying innovative programs and ideas can galvanize your staff. If your building is filled with stale ideas from the past and cynicism about the future, the courage to try something new can help break you out of the malaise. During this corona virus opportunity, and the drastic changes it is forcing, we can put new ideas into place.
Shows a Growth Mindset
Schools are not too big to fail. And with the massive budget cuts to education this will be truer than ever. As the Principal trying new things, failing at them and then learning from them is an essential part of leadership. We need to institute changes, collect and reflect on the data and change course accordingly. Right now is the time to shine and demonstrate the power of being a continual learner.
Being vulnerable is an exercise in courage, especially when you're exposing yourself to criticism. Your staff will, in turn, be comfortable telling their truths and be open to asking for help. Mutual vulnerability creates a culture of community. According to Brene Brown, who was quoted in Harvard Business Review,
Vulnerability here does not mean being weak or submissive. To the contrary, it implies the courage to be yourself. It means replacing “professional distance and cool” with uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.
Failing at something and being truthful about it is an example of vulnerability. It will give your staff and students the courage to try new things, fail and try again.
Being a great principal means you will often be in a position to fail. Failure demonstrates courage, shows that growth mindset and models vulnerability. Embrace that fact and embrace failure as an opportunity to create your future.
For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and/or order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. You can also get a monthly email that delivers the most valuable blogs as voted by readers by joining the Principals’ Prep Minute. You can register right on the website.
If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, episodes replayed weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.
I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm the former owner of a food venture Hustling Hoagies, the author of the children's picture books Detective Dwayne Drake and the Alphabet Thief, Detective Dwayne Drake and The Case of the Mathematical Misfit and the ebook Making it as a Male Model in Michigan. I've worked professionally as a model and commercial actor......