I was recently reading The Savvy Principal: What Streetwise Principals Know by Jody Capelutti for a book club of which I’m a part. He has a chapter in his book that describes the qualities of a good boss. This chapter had a bigger impact this time reading it because, as many of us are this time of year, I’ve been scanning the job opportunities in the surrounding area. As the jobs open up, thinking about the “right fit” is important. This particular post was inspired by Dr. Capelutti’s observations and my current state of mind.
Balances hands off with appropriate feedback.
If you’re hired into a position, naturally you’d believe that you’re qualified for the job. I’ve heard horror stories of principals being micro managed by their superintendent. He or she would question the principal’s decisions and suggest, in of their peers, a different way to get it done. Once you’re hired you should have the freedom to implement the changes you think are necessary. The superintendent should be monitoring your progress based off previous conversations and goals and providing appropriate check ins and feedback as you move towards success. A good superintending knows how to strike that balance between hands off and holding you accountable with appropriate feedback.
Respects personal time and understands importance of health
Being a principal requires you to be “on” all the time. When you do get a chance to take a breath you don’t need a text from your boss asking a question that could wait til you’re back on the “clock”. A good boss has her own life and is also taking the necessary time to relax and recharge and understands that you need that time too. Being healthy both mentally and physically means you’ll be there for your students, staff and the larger community. Getting that personal time to take care of yourself is another key indicator of a good superintendent.
Supports you and your building with personnel and resources
With budgets as they are, we know providing 360% support can be problematic. A good superintendent is transparent and is able to provide the rationale when he is unable to provide the necessary resources. However, they should also do their best to provide the latitude for you to hire, develop and implement the staff and programs that will move the school forward. While physical resources might not always be available, emotional and professional support are often just as needed. Seeing that the superintendent backs your initiatives gives you credibility with your community. A good superintendent supports you any way she can.
Being able to tell whether or not a superintendent is or will be a good boss is something we have to deal with. A boss who is able to balance a hands off approach with the appropriate timely feedback, respects your personal time and your health and supports you in whatever way she can is one worth working for. What are other key attributes of a good superintendent? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at theprincipalentrepreneur.com and/or pre order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, new episodes weekly. To join the podcast as a guest, 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......