Dear, Anthony… #SAVMP

About a month ago, SAVMP posted a lessons-learned comment log from principals all over the world. As I sift back through the posts, I wanted to highlight the thoughts that I connected most with and include their lessons learned in my Salad Bowl Effect of Leadership.

Based on their experiences, here is my letter to me. When I become a principal, I will read my letter to remind me of the few ways I plan to ‘start it off right’:

  • Be Accessible – one principal reminded you to let your actions speak louder than your words. Show that you care. Show that you understand. Show that you support them.
  • Listen and Learn – one principal described the power of listening with your eyes and your ears. Learn the needs of the campus and support its best interest. “Listen to respond…not to speak.”
  • Gather Information – one principal invited any stakeholder to meet with him before the school year starts and asked: what do we need to keep doing? what do we need to do differently? and what do we need to stop doing immediately? If needed, strategic abandonment is a great evaluative tool for the last question.
  • Know Your Stakeholders – one principal highlighted the importance of getting to know your learners & educators, but also and equally important the parents, support staff, and community members. Be specific about the things you learn and remember about each of them individually.
  • First 100 days – Your first 100 days sets the tone. Be the change you wanted to see before you became a principal; lead by example. Be visible in classrooms, hallways, at events, and within the community.
  • Slow Down – Take your time to make the best decisions and provide supportive reactions. It’s okay to admit if you don’t know – but follow up with an answer as soon as you do know. Take time to enjoy leadership. Give time to your staff members to adjust as well.
  • Non-negotiables – be strategic about identifying non-negoitables. It’s important to listen and learn, but stand firm on your beliefs and values that got you to this position in the first place. Set high expectations and standards, and model them.
  • YOU – one principal reminded you to make sure you take time for yourself. You can only give so much and you must replenish yourself to continue giving to others. Remember to eat, have a sense of humor and laugh…often, take your time, smile, and be friendly.
  • You are ready! – You are smart enough, strong enough, prepared enough, and ready to listen and learn. Don’t be afraid to lean on others or ask for help; celebrate your victories; covert your failures to opportunities; trust in God; and enjoy leadership.

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