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All (or most!) of your district leadership questions answered

If you have a question about leadership, Dr. J has an answer

When consensus is challenging, I recommend finding common ground between the members who disagree. Having a strong vision for the direction of the school will allow you, as the leader, to stress the importance of the team goals and the implications of not coming together to achieve it. Once this has been established, I recommend focusing your energy and time on working together to come to an agreement that’s a win/win for both sides.

Q: We are always asking for more time as leaders; any suggestions? —Susan B., a middle school assistant principal in Virginia

Dr. J: Let me start by saying that the term time management is a misnomer. You cannot manage time; what you can manage are the events and tasks in your role as a leader in relation to time. How you use that time depends on the skills you’ve learned through self-analysis, planning, evaluation, and self-control. Much like money, time is both valuable and limited and it must be protected.

Set priorities before the day starts. Managing your time effectively requires a distinction between what is important and what is urgent. Once you have priorities, schedule your time appropriately. Scheduling is not just recording what you must do—it’s also making a time commitment to the things you want to do. Don’t forget to delegate. Effective leaders get help from others. Delegating means assigning responsibility of a task to someone else, thus freeing up some of your time for tasks that require your expertise. Finally, manage external time wasters. You can decrease or eliminate time spent on these activities by implementing some simple rules for yourself:

  • Avoid small talk on the phone
  • Stay focused on the reason for the call
  • Start and end meetings on time
  • Turn off instant messaging features on email.

The more uninterrupted time you get during the day to work on priority tasks, the more effective you’ll be.

Q: How do you get others to accept your ideas? —Carmon I., a student at Penn State University

Dr. J: In order to get people to accept my ideas, I talk about the benefits of my idea(s) and how to apply it/them. I stay open to other’s thoughts and change my ideas in a way that is agreeable to everyone. When you gain buy-in from others, you are much more successful in attaining your goals.

Related: 9 common leadership missteps to avoid

Send us your leadership questions

Thank you to everyone who sent me their questions. We received so many that we will continue to answer them in upcoming @eschoolnews articles. My hope is that these answers will support aspiring leaders in their continued growth in educational leadership. School leadership is predicated on the successful establishment and maintenance of a system of support to help meet the many challenges of the job; we hope that articles such as these provide the foundation of such a system.

Send your leadership questions to @MatthewXJoseph.


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