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Twelve-Step Program for Leadership

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The beginning of this school year has me working with three new principals to our district. As I think about what I would tell them about the principalship, or any other leadership position for that matter, I find that the principles of a 12-step program have many parallels.

Regardless of the position you are in you are a leader in some capacity. It might be your office, your classroom, or your home. What kind of leader are you? Are you the take charge kind where those you work with look to you not only for guidance but for action as well? Or are you a different leader, one that supports and inspires others around you so that you are functioning within a shared leadership model?

Personally I think that the mark of a true leader is to create more leaders. I do not want to be in charge of everything. So often when that happens I feel as if my job is a “Whack a Mole” game played out in real life. How effective can I be when I am in charge of EVERYTHING?

To exist in a shared model of leadership you must first get rid of your ego. There is no room for a big ego in a shared model of leadership environment. For some a 12 step model of change is required. What are those 12 steps?

Admit that you cannot do everything and do it all well.

Recognize that delegating leadership roles can restore your sanity.

Make a conscious decision to let go of some responsibilities.

Make a searching inventory of what exactly your strengths are.

Admit to yourselves and others that possibly you might not be the best person to oversee such tasks as which library books to order or what chemistry chemicals need to be destroyed from the closet.

Become completely ready to give these tasks over to someone else to lead.

Humbly let go of your ego.

Begin to concentrate on what is on your to-do list and do it well.

Celebrate other’s success as they lead in areas that you needed help.

Always acknowledge and ask. Acknowledge other leadership roles and ask for advice.

Give praise and credit where credit is due.

Embrace humility always.

Once you have completed these twelve steps you will be well on your way to experience success with your staff, within your faculty or in your family. Surround yourself with great people, get rid of the ego, embrace humility, and lead within your scope of influence and expertise.

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Dr. Cathy Beck @cathypetreebeck has been in education for the past 27 years. She currently works as the assistant superintendent in Summit County, CO. Cathy is the co-author of Easy and Effective Professional Development. She has a new book about working with ELLs to be available in early 2017. Cathy is also an adjunct professor for Concordia University and the American College of Education.

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Guest Wednesday, 26 October 2016