Alert to all leaders… BEWARE OF IMPROVEMENT! Improvement is the goal all leaders have in common. However, that one thing you work for, if you are not careful, can be the very thing that keeps you stagnant.
A new leader begins their job by observing the organization, looking at data to determine the current condition, and then rolls up their sleeves to move the organization in the direction in which they have declared to be a positive one. The leader has a passion and zeal to move the organization. He/she works to build relationships with all stakeholders in order to gain their trust and their willingness to make changes.
The hard work and perseverance of the leader usually moves the organization. However, this is the time of which the leader needs to beware. Because so much improvement has taken place, leaders sometimes at this point don’t continue to push the organization. They revel in the improvement and, if not careful, find themselves stalling the work. This is one of the reasons many companies seek to change leaders every three years or so… in an effort to have a new pair of eyes with the desire and passion to take the baton and continue to improve the organization.
How do I know, as a leader, if I am headed in this direction? If you say (or even think) things like this in response to recommendations on how to continue to move the organization:
These statements lead to a slower pace of improvement or cause the journey of improvement to take a screeching halt. Organizations always have room to grow. This is especially true in educational leadership. We must always strive to improve, for our improvement directly effects the students for which we are responsible.
Paula Patterson is a former principal who shares practical points on the principalship.