Without a Vision...

Sonja Howard

New Year Image

As the saying goes, without a vision the people perish. I will take that a step further and say without continued reflection the leader will perish.

During my first year as principal, my goals were clear: "Get to know all I can about what makes this a great campus, and get to know my students, my staff and my community." But the needs of my community changed over the course of a few years. What then?

Taking stock of where things are as a leader is key. Whether that is revisiting the campus' mission and vision, reviewing goals as outlined in the campus improvement plan or just listening, watching and observing the ever changing state of affairs for a campus, it is important for a leader to take a pulse and make the necessary adjustments for the benefit of students and staff. Being willing to step back and reflect on what is or isn't taking place shouldn't be undersold and can't be overstated, especially when a part of that reflection is about one’s self as a leader.

My first years as principal included using a small list of actions or “choices” that would govern my daily work. These actions were what I worked by and were shared often with my staff. One in particular had been to choose active participation.

Over time and through my reflections I recognized that something was missing.
By my fifth year that choice evolved to choose active participation and collaboration & teamwork.

I also went from choose flexibility, to choose flexibility and fairness.

Further, I shared with my staff my reflections and evolution to this way of thinking and acting. Sharing my reflections with my staff led to a greater sense of motivation and purpose for us all.

As a campus leader we can't underestimate the power of reflection, especially self-reflection. It is important to have a realistic view of where things are and to make the necessary adjustments to keep the campus focused and moving in the right direction…toward the vision.
Thursday, June 18, 2015