7 ways to be a more visible leader

If leaders spend all of their time in their offices, how will they know what staff, students, and families need?

Today’s school administrator has an overabundance of duties and responsibilities to balance with the mandates from state and national reform. As an instructional leader, you must guide teachers to align learning experiences with objectives and create learning activities to optimize student achievement.

Leaders should monitor instruction and develop a clear and well-defined curriculum while ensuring quality instruction, promoting best practices, monitoring the implementation of the curriculum, providing resources, and examining assessment data.

How can educational leaders do all that? My answer: By having a pulse on the building.

Getting out of the office and seeing what’s going on in your school is critical to being an instructional leader. By getting out of the office, you’re able to take the pulse of what is actually happening inside and outside the classroom. Here are seven ways to be a more visible leader and “get out of the office.”

1. Wander purposely
Management by wandering around was a strategy at Hewlett Packard in the company’s early stages. Packard believed that to be successful, managers should be out in the field or on the workroom floor and away from a desk at least half of the day. This method allows leaders to understand their school’s instructional needs and better position themselves to make informed decisions that impact student learning. But visibility will do little in improving your school’s productivity unless your visit is focused. Capture evidence of what you see—maybe even keep a journal of your walks. Also, vary the times and locations to include pick up, drop off, lunch, team meetings, and other non-instructional settings.

2. Visit classrooms
Collaboration increases when staff feel the leader is visible. To understand instructional practice well enough to deliver growth-providing feedback, you’ll need multiple methods of class visits to build relationships. Observe the dynamics of teacher to students, student to student, and teacher to teacher to foster trust with your staff.

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