Achieving Excellence in Education Leadership
by Sumona Job & Career 11 January 2022
Being a standout leader and achieving excellence within the field of education is not always easy. You do not always have a route that is easy or straightforward. Sometimes getting the results that you desire and aim for can be hard to achieve.
The more you put into your role, then the more you can expect to get out of it, but what else should you be thinking about on your road to excellence, and what should you be putting into practice?
1. Making a Commitment to Excellence
You will never achieve excellence if you do not commit wholeheartedly to it in the first place. Before trying to achieve success and excellence, you have to make a strong and firm commitment. Without this initial commitment, you may find that you lack the direction and the endurance to achieve and realize your full potential within educational leadership.
So, stop making excuses and start making changes and commitments today. Start committing to be a fantastic and outstanding leader. Focusing both your attention and your efforts on your end goals and onto a leadership role will help you to continuously push forwards and be as successful as you want to be.
2. Evaluating Your Current Situation
Knowing that you want to push forward and knowing that you need to push forward is important. When you evaluate your current role, you can see clearly where room for improvement lies. For example, if, within your current leadership role, you feel that others are not listening to what you have to say (or not valuing) your leadership, then changes need to be made quickly.
Simply jumping in and trying to make new changes and improvements is never going to work and certainly not going to last a sustained period. So, look at what you are currently offering and giving to your role (and to those around you). Are you positively impacting others?
Are you an effective team leader, or are you a poor role model? Once you have taken stock of your current situation, you can then begin creating a plan for growth and development.
3. Self-Development and Self Growth
You can never truly be an excellent leader if you are not prepared to invest in self-development and self-growth. If you do not push yourself to be better, and if you do not focus on strengthening your weaknesses, then how can you achieve excellence in leadership?
Continually focusing on self-development will ensure that you are bringing out the best from within you at all times. As well as focusing on development, it is also important that you focus on growth too. You can grow within leadership by gaining your doctorate.
You need to seize any available opportunity that you can, and one way you can do this is by earning an EdD online with no GRE requirement because this is an opportunity that you will not want to let pass you by as it will help you grow and develop as an individual, and as a leader.
When you take your education and growth into your own hands, you can then be sure that you are broadening your horizons and strengthening how you handle a myriad of situations.
4. The Correct Approach
Within education, there is a correct approach to tackle change, growth, and development, and there is also a wrong approach. Ensuring that you take the correct approach is essential because you want to see and feel results as soon as possible.
The correct approach for you may well look different from that of another leader, but one thing it will have in common with all leaders is the ability to listen. When you are putting forward your ideas and strategies for change and for growth, and you are liaising with employees, coworkers, and even those who may be on a board, it is essential that you listen.
Getting feedback at an early stage and not simply shooting down everything that is said by someone will ensure that you keep those that matter firmly on your side. The correct approach is one that is not pressured and not rushed.
5. Setting SMART Goals and Objectives
Of course, achieving excellence in educational leadership is not going to happen overnight; it is going to be something that is introduced over a period of time. As this change will not happen overnight, it is crucial that you set SMART goals and objectives.
The path to success and excellence is easy to follow when you know what you are working towards. Setting both short-term goals and long-term objectives will help you to achieve excellence within a timeframe that is both comfortable (and acceptable) to you.
When it comes to setting SMART goals and objectives, think about what you want to achieve within the next 12 months and also within the next 24 months. Thinking ahead is beneficial to you as a leader and is essential for your role. When you plan out your vision and you break it down into more realistic segments, you can then start reaching goals and targets a lot sooner.
6. The Right Mindset
The journey to excellence in leadership may not always be plain sailing, but there is one thing that you can have that will make the journey even easier and more fruitful, and this is the right mindset. When you have both a positive and focused mindset, you can be sure that you are on the right track.
A negative mindset can end up consuming you and your approach to leadership, and this is something that you do not want to happen. Maintaining a healthy, focused, and positive mindset will help you in more ways than you initially realize.
For example, it may allow you to see opportunities that you may not have seen initially, or it may allow you to see things in a new way. Getting and maintaining the right mindset is not always the easiest thing to do, especially if you have adopted a set mindset for a set amount of time.
When it comes to changing your mindset, you need to focus on the small wins and gains. Making small changes and gently tweaking what you do each day is better and much more sustainable to do than trying to make radical changes quickly.
7. Exemplary Behavior
To achieve excellence, you have to demonstrate excellence. Leading with positive behavior will pave the way forward for success.
Those around you, including colleagues and employees, will look to you for guidance, and they will look at you as a role model. It is important that you always act professionally at all times and in all situations. If you want others to follow in your footsteps, then you have to pave the way.
If your behavior is less than exemplary, then start thinking about how you can make changes and improvements. Think about what you can do that will have an impact on your behavior and those around you.
8. Taking Transformative Action
Transforming into a leader that delivers excellence time and time again does not happen simply by chance. You need to take transformative action to get the results that you want to, and you need to start taking this action sooner rather than later.
Transforming how you think about your role and processing your role and position will allow you to positively push forwards. To act and implement transformative action and change, you need to be direct with the approach you achieve on your way to success, and you also need to be sensitive and considerate too.
Transforming how you do something and why will help you to become a stronger leader, and this will, in turn, help you excel within leadership.
9. The Leadership Style You Need to Adopt
There is no one size fits approach within leadership, and this is something that you must both accept and harness. Finding an approach that works for you is important. The leadership style that you adopt will dictate how you perform your duties, and it will also bring out all of those strengths that lie within. So, what leadership style do you want to follow and align closely with?
Are you going to adopt a lead from the front approach, or are you going to attempt to lead from the middle? To achieve excellence in any leadership position, you have to know how you will approach the role and task at hand and why.
If you do not know what leadership style you should use or follow then, you need to discover what works for you and why. Going on a short journey of self-discovery will allow you to open up to new ways of working and thinking.
10. Having a Positive and Lasting Impact
Excellence in leadership is not simply about being a one-hit-wonder; it is not about claiming small victories or wins. Excellence in leadership is quite the opposite of this because it focuses more on making a long-term positive and lasting impact.
Being able to positively make a difference to those within the educational setting is what all leaders should be aiming to achieve. If you are not set on bringing about real, positive, and lasting change, and you are not setting out to make an impact, then you may find that you never fully achieve recognition for what you have achieved.
11. Winning and Influencing
Being a leader that excels takes courage, dedication, and persistence. However, it also requires winning and influencing to be key traits too. If you are not influencing those around you (in and out of work) and you are not winning key moments in life (even if only some of the time), then what are you truly achieving?
There is, of course, a fine line to draw about how much you should celebrate a win (and, of course, when a win should be celebrated) because not all wins come in the same size. You won’t need to celebrate big wins in the same way you do small ones and vice versa. Sometimes celebrating can be as simple as patting yourself on the back for a job well done, but bigger wins deserve more than this.
If you are not getting wins, then you are not making an impact or even a difference. This then has a knock-on effect with you are influencing (or not). You need to influence others and persuade them that your shared vision is the way to move forwards. If you cannot successfully influence and persuade others, then you will never achieve excellence in any form of educational leadership.
12. A Shared and Realistic Vision
Having a vision that you believe in is essential for excellence. If you do not have a realistic and shared vision, then you will struggle to see and feel results.
When you are creating a vision, you need to think about what your predecessors have done and what they have tried to implement. Looking at what has previously been attempted and what has perhaps been successful will allow you to see where you should start when writing your pitches and visions.
Getting to know the team and those that you work with will help you to create a realistic vision. Always seek others’ input, and value their contribution to ensure that you create a vision that can be shared and respected by all of those involved.
13. Staying Alert, Empowering Yourself and Others
Being a leader in the education industry requires you to stay on your feet at all times. Staying alert and present to what is happening, when, and why will always ensure that you stay ahead of the competition and that you pursue a path that will lead you to success and excellence.
Along the way, you must be honest and responsible. Achieving excellence is so much easier to do when you are honest about what you are doing and why. If you withhold information from anybody that you are working with, you may find that later down the line, they end up questioning your integrity and your true values, and of course, this is no good for strong leadership.
Empowering yourself to achieve success and also empowering others around will always put you in a strong position. When you empower yourself and those around you, you then build strong unbreakable bonds and relationships. It is these bonds and relationships that will continually help you to excel within your leadership role.