In a time when civil liberties and raw racial fault lines are the current topics of conversation and not black and white historical images on Youtube leaders must speak. There is a struggle to reconcile the leader of our United States words, with the reality some of us live on a consistent basis.
With the recent racist and violent acts in Charlottesville and President Trump saying,
"I think there is blame on both sides," and that within the group of those with Swastikas and yelling out anti-Semitic slogans there were some "bad people .... but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides." As principals we are left to parse words and determine how to lead our schools with vulnerability and integrity when the person in the highest public office of our land does not. The following are three ways to demonstrate leadership when the president does not.
Action are more important then Words
Do the little things. You’ve heard it before, but this is one of the best ways to show integrity and self discipline Doing the jobs that you expect others to do is an example of integrity. Show them that you aren’t afraid to get in the trenches with them. If you’re school holds ISS (in school suspension, take a turn sitting in their with the students. Join your staff in performing the jobs you know they dread. Leading by example, demonstrating through your actions that you mean what you say is a great way to show your integrity.
We is greater than Me
This is a team concept and those with high integrity demonstrate this value. Gathering the advice and listening to the point of view of those on your staff is important in building a strong culture. Hiring those who can support you and compensate for your weakness is key. Being able to ask for help and not pretending to have all the answers is an offshoot of this concept. Not only must you create a team you actually have to listen to them. Treating your entire staff as integral parts of a whole following their insights when necessary highlights your vulnerability and integrity as a leader.
Be comfortable with discomfort
This is often about honesty. Telling the truth tactfully lets your staff know where you stand. They don’t have to worry that you’re hiding something from them. Often making the decision to confront someone is more difficult than having the actual conversation. You must embrace the discomfort. When a teacher is disrespectful to the student and then the student responds in kind. Intervening in a respectful way is the right thing to do. Asking your staff what they could have done better isn’t easy. It’s your job to do it anyway. Integrity means having the courage to be uncomfortable.
In an age of hyperbole, increasing racial tensions, and alternate facts and hard line stances demonstrating vulnerability and integrity is one of the most important characteristics of a principal. Leading by example through your actions, showing that the team is greater than the individual and embracing discomfort are all components of integrity.
What are other ways you can demonstrate these characteristic. 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......