Uniting School Administrators to Create a Better World

The First Four Questions a New Principal Needs to Answer – Part 2

What do you believe?

This is the second question that needs to be answered when entering a new position of leadership.

Once you’ve shared who you are, your new team will need to know what you believe. They want to know if they have similar beliefs in common.

So you have to be clear on what your fundamental beliefs are. This is one of those sit-down-with-a-sheet-of-paper-alone moments where you identify the basic beliefs that you live by.

For example, I believe that my success will never exceed my self-development. That’s a Jim Rohn quote. What that means is that I am always reading, always learning, always looking to improve my skills and knowledge. I believe that my success in every area of my life is a result of my decision to work daily on myself. first-four-questions-princi

As a new school administrator, I believe that teachers are the most important people on campus. They work directly with our clients – students. Student success is determined by the efforts and actions of their teachers, so it is up to me – the administrator – to make sure that the teacher has everything he/she needs to do his/her job. I need to provide them with the necessary supplies, encouragement, recognition, trust, and appreciation, so they can continue doing their job well. That is what I believe.

Your new staff or team will feel more comfortable once they not only know who you are as a person, but what your core beliefs are. It will help them understand your way of thinking and either make them connect better with you or disconnect with you depending on how your beliefs match theirs.

What if you told your staff, “I believe that due to my experience and education, I know what is best for the school in every instance.”? It’s a my-way-or-the-highway philosophy that, unfortunately, many school administrators believe.

How would that go over with your staff? Some would probably agree and follow obediently, but I believe that most would withdraw, and creating an atmosphere of cooperation and trust would be very difficult.

What happens in most cases is that new principals don’t make their beliefs clear right at the beginning, so they have a harder time making those crucial connections necessary to move the school forward. The staff doesn’t know you yet, and by the time your actions demonstrate what you really believe, most of the year has gone by, and you’ve lost the opportunity to build momentum early.

Question number two is:

What do you believe?

Make it clear at the first staff meeting. Once you do, try and gauge the reaction of the staff. If you find that you are not getting the support you expect, perhaps your beliefs don’t match with theirs. It might be time to re-evaluate what you believe.

On the other hand, if your beliefs are in line with what they believe, you’ll find that you’ll gain a group of loyal supporters who will help you move your school toward your vision.

What do you believe?

In the next post, we’ll talk about the third question: What is your vision?

Until next time, here’s to your School Administration Mastery!



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