4 Qualities of Highly Successful Leaders

Vol. 16 No. 6

PSN eletter vol15 no6 greatleader

ISM believes that private-independent schools must practice distributed leadership. By this we mean all professionals in your school—school administrators, faculty, and staff—are leaders in their own right.

Every individual in your school is responsible for strategic leadership in his or her respective role, contributing to the overall well-being of your school.

So what makes a strong leader? ISM highlights four characteristics that powerful leaders share.

  • Adaptive capacity. Leaders must continually meet challenges and find creative, sustainable solutions.
  • Create shared meaning. Leaders must inspire their teams, keeping the school’s mission and a passion for education as their core focus.
  • Voice. Leaders must be confident, understand their own strengths and weaknesses, and recognize the strengths and weaknesses of others.
  • Integrity. Leaders must have ambition to serve the greater good of the school with a strong moral compass.

A strong school leader has an innate sense of wonder and curiosity, excitement for life, and eagerness for the school’s mission and continued growth.

Consider these characteristics. Are you displaying each of them in your day-to-day efforts at your school? Are you using these characteristics to guide team members and colleagues? Reflection is key and an honest assessment of where you stand with each factor helps you determine what skills need concentration.

Evolving Personal Leadership

Every member of your school should focus on cultivating leadership skills. Educators and administrators alike should continue to work hand-in-hand with their mentors to identify where they’d like to grow. Once identified, research opportunities to take a class or online course to correct that weakness.

You can also work with peers from other like-minded private-independent schools. Attend a workshop or network with fellow administrators for an outsider’s perspective to help you understand different mindsets and take on fresh challenges.

We recently shared our suggestions for your 2017 summer reading list. From The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done to Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, these books are a great way to think about how you work with others, prioritize your time, and portray yourself. Keep the characteristics of successful leaders in mind as you consider their advice.

Effective leaders drive the success of private-independent schools. Focus on these qualities to improve your own leadership skills as well of those of your fellow administrators, faculty, and staff.

Additional ISM Resources:
ISM's 2017 Advancement Academy
ISM's 2017 Business and Operations Academy
The Source for School Heads Vol. 14 No. 5 19 Qualities of Superior Academic Leadership

Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 28 No. 12 Generational Differences and Leadership in Your School
I&P Vol. 38 No. 7 Distributed Leadership in the 21st Century School

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