As I’ve become more comfortable in my role as principal and observe the other principals in my district and read about principal exploits on Facebook, the areas of influence we occupy are occasionally unique. It seems to me that as a principal we are primarily brought in to do one of two things: keep things on an even keel or bring about dramatic change. In order to accomplish our own goals within one of these two frameworks we must be able to influence our staff. From the beginning of our tenure there are three types of power that need to be interwoven in order to set our agenda.
Access to Decision Makers
As a principal we must have an easy entry point into our central administration. From this position we can begin to network and create connections. It’s through leveraging these relationships that we are able to ask for the things that we need to run our buildings. Just like in business our network is our net-worth. In education net-worth equates to resources as simple as textbooks to grant funding for the Robotics’ Club. The power of access is what gives us a means to gain what we need to support our agendas. By creating good relationships we have the power to influence the allocation of resources.
Like a news anchor is the face of a local channel or a Youtube star, we are the face of the school. With that visibility comes a platform from which we can highlight our school’s successes. For good or ill, in most cases, we are the people that come to mind when a parent or community member thinks of our school. From for our positions as principal we have the power and the responsibility to do what is best for all the children. How we present that vision to all stakeholders is important. Through constant and appropriate visibility we have the power to influence the image of our schools.
This is perhaps the greatest power we have as principal. As an evaluator it’s our job to impact good teaching. It’s also the position in which we can save the most children. By evaluating a poor teacher out we have the power to positively impact a generation of children. Not surprisingly this is the power that is the most difficult to wield. Even today with teachers no longer having tenure the hoops and the paperwork that must be done to remove a poor teacher is difficult to manage. As a principal it’s necessary. The evaluative process is the superpower of the principal and we can use it to shape our staff.
These three spheres of influence: access to decision makers, social capital, staff culture can help us shape, support and promote our school vision.
Whart are other areas of influence that we have? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please follow me and share with your friends.
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I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm an owner of a new 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......