November 21, 2019
Leadership Lessons Continued

During my last two Updates, I have written about 10 of the 15 Leadership Lessons from the article “ 15 Leadership Lessons Coaches Wish They Knew When They Started Their Careers ,” by the Forbes Coaches Council. This week I will put my spin on the last 5 lessons.

11. Invest in Your Own Revolution . This lesson might be the best one discussed in the article. We need to be continuous learners about our profession. We need to read leadership and education related books and have book studies with our administrators when we read books that have thoughts or ideas we want our organization and leaders to pursue. We need to learn from more veteran superintendents and other successful school leaders on how they are leading their school districts.

I regularly ask teacher evaluators if they would be better teachers today because of all the teachers they have observed and evaluated. Every evaluator agrees they would. The same is true of leaders at all levels. This is why it is very important for superintendents to attend region meetings to listen to what other leaders are doing in their districts. To follow great leaders on Twitter and other digital platforms. To attend national educational leadership conferences and trainings. To find out what leaders from all over the country are doing that results in increased student achievement and growth.

12. Positive Influence Trumps Titles . Our role as school district leaders has many demands. One of the greatest is to grow the people within the organization. We need to promote individuals who have the ability to influence others regardless of the “title” of the individual. I have had the positive experience to work with teachers and others who did not hold leadership positions by title but were definitely leaders within the organization. I often tried to find ways to harness these individual traits into positive educational outcomes. An important aspect of being a good leader is knowing when and how to turn the reins over to people who can effectuate positive change.

13. Don’t Prove Yourself, Share Your Talents . We probably all know this to be true. Just because someone is the employed superintendent, or the employed principal, does not make that person the leader. Leaders have followers. I was talking to a superintendent recently who was seeking help for some areas of concern in his school district. I have learned (through the Illinois School of Advanced Leadership “Coach Training”) that often just listening is the best approach for a coach. I let this leader go on and on about the problems he was facing. Without me offering any solutions, the leader arrived at his own conclusions. What he needed to do was to compromise with the teachers and parents of the community, who were communicating loudly and clearly that they did not like the direction the district was taking. This leader could cite all kinds of evidence of why the district should follow his recommendations but, in the end, he needed to compromise and be willing to settle for some wins and some losses. A true leader listens to the followers.

14. You Cannot Lead All People the Same Way . As I observe school leaders operate, I notice leaders who apply the same training to every administrator, or building level administrators providing the same professional development for all the teachers. Just like we want teachers to differentiate learning for students, we leaders should be differentiating the professional development for our staff. Each individual has their own unique personalities, strengths, weaknesses and styles.

15. No Two Leaders Are Alike . “Just be you because you cannot be who you are not.” We all have our own unique leadership styles. You need to maintain this leadership style, or you will discover that you will not be happy with the results. Early in my leadership career I was very straightforward and concise with my suggestions and comments to others. Over time, I received some criticism for this style and tried to change my style. What I failed to consider was that many others thought my original leadership style was very effective and liked it. I do not remember how long I was out of character, but I do remember ending my leadership career as I started it, being straightforward and concise.

Tip of the Week
IASA Professional Development is sponsoring four sessions at the Triple I Conference:

  • On Friday from 8 to 10 a.m., we are hosting a workshop on “Adult SEL/Self-care for Educators,” Hyatt East Tower, Columbus CD, Ballroom Level
  • On Friday from 2 to 3 p.m., is the session on “Innovative PE Programming,” Hyatt East Tower, Columbus CD, Ballroom Level
  • On Saturday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., check out “E-Learning for Emergency Days,” Hyatt East Tower, Columbus CD, Ballroom Level
  • On Saturday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., we will present “Change The Game With Twitter,” Hyatt East Tower, Columbus CD, Ballroom Level

I hope to see you!

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Richard Voltz
Associate Director
Professional Development/Induction-Mentoring
2648 Beechler Court
Springfield, IL 62703
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