As a leader, it is imperative that you focus on the “best ideas”, not “your ideas”. Sometimes they can be the same thing, but if you have a group around you that only agrees and is worried about challenging ideas, we often make the wrong decisions for kids.
I am doing some catch-up here. I should have responded to this question in #savmp a few weeks ago, but better late than never.
George asked us three questions to respond to for this post:
How do you create a culture where “pushback” is encouraged?
How do you know when to stick with the minority over the majority?
How do you create a team that will give you honest feedback?
These again, are huge questions for me. I think one of the worst things that can happen to a principal is to be out of the loop. I want to know how people are feeling about what is going on at the school. I want to know if I am pushing too much, especially if I am pushing too much.
What I need to learn to do is to accept pushback from staff with grace. I don't think I am there yet. There are times when I get frustrated when I hear I am moving too fast or pushing too much on the staff. I have to learn not to be upset - I have to learn to be more humble and realize that I work as a member of a dedicated team. I am not Napoleon on his white charger.
In fact, when I get that way, I need the horse to send me flying back to the hard real ground.
I am entering my third year as a principal and I have been in administration for twelve years overall. You would think that I would have learned that lesson by now. I am certainly still working on this.
I need the staff at our school to feel comfortable enough to come into my office or speak up at meetings if they don't agree with the course I am following. To be a really effective leader, I need to lose my ego - not an easy thing to do, but something I am now convinced is necessary if I aspire to be a good principal.
I think I know how to do pushback pretty well, I can stick with the minority over the majority - even if it is a minority of one. The question I need to examine carefully is the last one - how do I create a team willing to give me honest feedback?
We should always be reflecting on our leadership style and how we serve the people in our educational community. I know what I need to reflect on.