Culture is a Reflection of Leadership
School culture is not the sole responsibility of leaders. Each of us has an impact on culture (and You Don't Need a Title to Impact Culture) and a shared responsibility to shape it in positive ways on our campuses.
That said, positional leaders have a title and the hierarchy of the organization behind each of their actions, so their impact is magnified. Whether you are an instructional coach, a curriculum designer, team leader, or the boss behind the desk - you have a magnified impact on the school culture.
And the culture is a reflection of the leadership in your school.
There's no need to buy that new full-length mirror for your closet - the school is your mirror. The school reflects your confidence and your passion. And on the flip side, it also mirrors your fear and insecurity.
[side note: this is why district and regional leaders have an obligatory role to feed the principals]
Does a Leader Need to be Perfect?
That's a fair question given the enormous impact and responsibility you hold. And it might be the first reactionary strategy to approaching your role as a school leader. However, perfection is the opposite of what a school culture needs.
Perfection is a farce.
No one believes in it anymore. We know all too well the humanity of our neighbors and our leaders. That's a great relief, given that we also know our own inner weaknesses and flaws.
Embrace Your Weakness
This is the secret of influence - of leadership. It's about having the self-awareness and humility to know your own gaps. Here are many types of gaps that can exist in leaders:
- Specific curriculum expertise.
- Up-to-date on next year's edtech.
- Managing all of the details of your school calendar.
- Getting into classrooms enough.
- Answering all those emails.
- Being perceived as too direct, cold.
- Being perceived as dishonest, "no backbone".
What does a leader do? Do these, and other gaps disqualify you for the job? Of course not.
Embrace your weakness and empower others to help fill the gap. Make your strengths so strong that your gaps are irrelevant to your performance. Focus on your strengths and your people. Build a team that can lead with you!
Let me leave you with this quote:
The quickest way to lose respect and create a toxic working environment is to micro manage your people. Micro-managing is a projection of one's own insecurity and fear. Leadership is a reflection of self confidence and courage. -Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad