The Reflection Pool

Three Steps to Better Leadership

I reflect often on my leadership practices.  I want to be as transparent as possible about my values, my thinking and my growth as a leader.

(c) All rights reserved by Matthew Bailey
(c) All rights reserved by Matthew Bailey

I am always conscious of my influence and my impact, which is often where leadership lies.  Here are three things I do to be a better leader:

1)  Listen carefully to what others are saying.  One of Steven Covey’s most famous quotes is “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” True listening means being fully present as you pay close attention to other’s words, expressions and body language. When people feel listened to, communication improves and we can have an open and trusting conversation.

2)  Make a commitment to action. Think carefully about what actions you can take and what you can commit to. Instead of saying, “I’ll call you back”, say “I’ll connect with you by Friday to let you know where we are with this.”  Then do it.

3)  Admit mistakes. This may be one of the hardest things for a leader to do. Some people think admitting failure or mistakes shows weakness. I want to shine a light on them.  Tell those affected that you made one and apologize for any harm.  Then, and most importantly, share what you’ve learned and how you’re going to do things differently.

These three steps may seem self evident.  I can tell you that when you are caught up in intense events or with a million things to do on your plate, it can be easy to let them go. Leadership means that you remember your commitments and your values.

Whether you find yourself in the classroom, in a school office or at central office, we all have leadership challenges. What steps can you take to be a better leader?