5. Not providing feedback.
A common misstep leaders make is to not offer constructive feedback to their staff. When you don’t provide prompt feedback rooted in evidence, you’re depriving your staff the opportunity to improve their practice. Not providing feedback also removes the boost of confidence in being told they are doing a good job. To avoid this misstep, provide regular growth feedback, focused in an effective manner.

6. Failure to delegate.
Some school leaders don’t delegate because they feel that no one but them can do tasks correctly. What quickly follows is stress and burnout. Delegation can take a lot of effort as it can be hard to trust your staff to do the work correctly. But unless you delegate, you’re never going to have time to focus on the vision and goals of your school. Leaders have a busy, full schedule, so it makes sense to ask others to handle a variety of tasks.

7. Not making time for staff.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in email, phone calls, data, and your own work. Before you know it, you are not available to your staff. People must come first. If you are not available when they need you, your staff will feel not supported and lose trust. However…

8. Be careful of open-door policy!
Make yourself available to your school community but do it strategically. Block out the times in your daily and weekly calendar to focus on being visible, classroom visits, the students, and your goals. Schedule times during the week for people to make appointments to see you if they feel the need. Balance time for staff but don’t lose focus on the goals of your day.

9. Meeting “just because.”
Meeting for the sake of having regular meetings—particularly if there is nothing on the agenda—frustrates people. Plan meetings for a strategic purpose or to develop professional learning outcomes, not to disseminate information. Staff will appreciate this strategy and see you as understanding their needs. When you do meet, staff will be focused and ready to contribute.

There are so many different characteristics and traits of a good leader, but these missteps are ones leaders often find themselves falling into and spending too much time getting out of. Knowing the pitfalls may help you avoid them. Leadership effectiveness must result in enabling, supporting, and empowering your staff to do everything in their ability to support learning. Avoid the missteps and jump right into the leading.

About the Author:

Matthew Joseph, Ed.D., is the director of digital learning, informational technology, and innovation for Milford Public Schools in Milford, Mass. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewXJoseph.