In response to the post, “Advice for the First Year Principal – Part 7,” a reader writes:
LOVE this post! Many times when the right decisions are made for kids, they aren’t the most popular ones. Thus, leaders should be driven by the need to ‘feel’ popular. Work to have a good personality, making conscious decisions to say and do the things that result in respect, and display sincere commitment, and humbleness. Know when to just say “Thank you,” and keep plugging away. A ‘popular’ leader is in the eye of the beholder; it depends on whom you ask. I’m OK with the idea of kids getting what they need first and what the leader needs second, and I agree that as a leader I don’t need to ‘feel’ popular.
We are on the same page. I just want to add four quick self-checks to consider.
1. As a leader, on the continuum of being adored by your staff or feared by your staff, err on the side of fear. No matter how cynical it may seem, the fact is, people often cut corners when dealing with those they adore. They cross their “T’s” and dot their “I’s” when dealing with those they fear.
2. If you find yourself putting off the difficult “people” decisions, remind yourself that every day you wait you are doing a disservice to your students, the organization, your staff, yourself, and the person you are putting off dealing with.
3. If your defining quality is how “nice” you are, leadership may not be your best vocation.
4. If your defining quality is how big of a “jerk” you are, you may move the organization, but you will end up with a staff of conscripts and mercenaries, not volunteers.
Think. Work. Achieve.