What is your leadership legacy?
Leadership, like life, is simply a series of moments, and every moment gives you the opportunity to leave a positive legacy for those around you.
What is the legacy you will leave when you leave your current position?
What will you be remembered for, or better still, what do you want to be remembered for?
What are the values, customs, traditions or ways of working that will exist beyond you because they have become the fabric of the organisation?
I think if I had my leadership time again I would want to be known for high expectations and high care, or high challenge and high support. A solid balance between people and processes, head and heart.
I would no longer skip over moments when I had the opportunity to give positive feedback and didn’t. I would no longer avoid those moments to challenge when people failed to meet expectations that were clearly set. Importantly, my expectations would be super clear – people would know what it takes to be successful in this school.
I would ensure we have a shared set of values, beliefs and ways of working. This would inform every decision we make and help us to be clear about what is OK and what is not OK.
For the leadership team, it would be staff, not just students, at our core. The guiding questions would be around how we as leaders can build and maintain the conditions where staff thrive. Where staff willingly commit to doing better and being better so that kids benefit. Where staff are well trained, well supported and empowered to teach well.
I would want the staff to know that they were seen, they were heard and they were valued for who they are and what they bring. I would also want them to know that they have choice and agency, the power to agree, and importantly, to disagree. This does not mean everyone could do what they like – quite the opposite. Instead, it means, I would hope that I have provided the safety for robust debate and transparent decision-making processes. After which if they choose to disagree with the decision, they are free to move on elsewhere, and I they go with my blessing and support.
Because of these committed and dedicated staff, kids learn and lives are improved. Students and their parents feel safe and in partnership.
Sadly, this is not the legacy I left in my last school leader role. I cared deeply, but that was not enough.
However, when you know better you do better, right?
What do I know better? Myself.
My strengths, my shadow side, my style and my challenges.
I know when I am at my best and when my ego is in the driver's seat.
I know what triggers me and what I need to do to stay present in the moment.
What is your legacy going to be? I would love to know.
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