Most of us who’ve been principals have had our share of time as a teacher. We know what it’s like to have a poor leader in the building and what NOT to do. Often times it would seem he’d be on some sort of power trip and makes changes that didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Obviously these types of leaders aren’t confined to our field. I’ve had managers yell at me for not putting the boxes of food on the shelf just right. Or there’s that night manager who wouldn’t listen when a suggestion that would save time and money, was made. Don’t be a poor leader by avoiding these stupid mistakes that even the smartest principals sometimes make.
Believing you’re the only one with the answer and the smartest person in the room, and acting like it, is a big no no . More than likely you will have your idea of how you want things to go. Using questions to guide the conversation to get your staff where you want to go is an excellent technique. Another characteristic of a know it all is only giving negative feedback and blaming others when things don't work out. This is an easy way to destroy any type of self sufficiency in your building. Additionally, taking the credit when something is fixed will definitely get you the side eye. It’s alright to be your best self but supporting everyone else so they are too is the sign of a truly intelligent principal.
Never ever work out
This is trap is easy to fall into. Especially if you’re in your first few years. Making sure that you’re at your worst mentally and physically will ensure your decisions will often be crappy. Having low energy will make you grouchy and you will have a hard time connecting with you staff. This will ensure that your building is a place in which your staff is dark and gloomy. In an environment like that, discipline problems are bound to be higher than you would like. Even the smartest principals get caught in this loop. This is a sure way to burn out and work at less than peak efficiency. Me smart and make sure you’re getting that exercise in.
No follow through
With the amount of work and the number of emergencies we deal with on a daily basis, not following through is often a risk. This is a key component in destroying your building culture. Saying, “all hands on deck” then staying in your office to finish up paperwork can happen without realization. Even if there are times when designated staff are there to try and handle emergencies our presence is often demanded. Being above the fray will absolutely cause a lack of respect.
What are some other stupid mistakes that are difficult to avoid. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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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......