10 things I have learned about leading…

Reflecting on my first half-year in my new role as Teaching and Learning Coordinator, here’s just a little of what I have learned…

1. Vision. Don’t just focus on the bricks. See the cathedral

2. Courage. Don’t be limited by your job description. Make a difference in any way you can.

3. Creativity. Think in new ways. Experiment with different ideas. Innovate.

4. Resilience. Rise above disappointments, complaints and people who work against you. 

4. Empathy. Remember that everyone has a story. Be patient. Avoid talking to people when you haven’t had enough sleep.

5. Reflection. Admit when you are wrong and apologise. Occasionally apologising when you weren’t wrong might be helpful too.

6. Collaboration. The power of a helpful, inspirational, global PLN is immeasurable. A trusted in-school PLN is even more valuable.

7. Communication: Talk. Explain. Ask. Listen. You can achieve a great deal via one conversation at a time.

8. Initiative. If you have an idea, run with it. Don’t wait for a better time, particular conditions or permission to try.

9. Persistence. If you believe in something, fight for it, negotiate for it, pay for it, work for it.

10. Humility. Ask for help. Consult. Get advice. If something is worthwhile, you don’t need your name on it. It’s not about who gets the credit.

What have I missed?


13 thoughts on “10 things I have learned about leading…

  1. I think you have covered most of what is important. My thoughts probably appear in a couple of your lessons. I have learned in from my leadership experiences that a good leader invests in or promotes the ideas of others (empathy). I like your idea of experiment. I recently posted a piece on an article I read in Harvard Business Review, http://rryshke.posterous.com/if-it-aint-broke-experiment. If leaders maintain the status quo and don’t experiment, their schools or institutions could become irrelevant.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on leading.



  2. This list resonates fabulously with me. I am a teacher who never wanted to leave the classroom because I love it so much. However, I realized I could make more of an impact outside the classroom, which was an adjustment. I am starting my 3rd year as the Technology Integration Specislist for the district and have found that I learned enough to know that your 10 on leadership is right on. For me, I would add in that when I’m tired, I get more fixated on meeting MY goals that I start rattling off answers right away without checking for my own understanding by paraphrasing and asking clarifying or probing questions… I’ve learned to tackle my checklist of “To Do” but postpone responding to others until I’ve had that time to recoup so my focus can be on them.

    Thanks for posting this!

    Kind regards,
    Tracy Watanabe


  3. As always, you have given a great list to think about and ponder on. I’m planning on putting this list on my office wall as a sort of “10 step reminder” of what I should be doing in my position. It’s easy to get lost as we shift and change our roles and our focuses in our jobs. This will help me stay on track and remember to put all of those aspect of the learner profile into action as a leader.

    The only thing I would add is Balance. We need to remember that although we want to be the best and try everything that is marketed as the best, we need to balance emotion and rationality so that we make the best choices for ourselves, our colleagues and our school. That is a hard task, but one that is essential for success.

    Thanks for the reminders!
    Jessica 🙂


  4. Edna,
    Being in a similar postion I would also have to add sense of humor. Sometimes you just have to step back and find something in all of this to smile or laugh about.
    Thanks for being so supportive, honest, and open.


  5. I have read both the post and the previous comments. It’s good to know that there are a lot of people out there who reflect, consider and still want to learn. Thank you everyone. I would add, when colleagues and I worry about things which haven’t happened yet, ‘Tell people, ‘You’re alright NOW.”

    When I first read it, it struck me that those 10 things apply to relationships generally, both in and out of the worklace. I especially like the balance between the ‘big ideas’ and the practical, such as ‘ Avoid talking to people when you haven’t had enough sleep.’

    I was also reminded of Stephen Covey’s remark that ‘leadership is doing the right thing when no one is watching.’ As I say to my students, ‘usually, there’s someone watching.’

    Sarah B.


  6. Thanks for the reminders. For me the reflection piece is important. One thing I could do better is to listen and ask reflective questions rather than giving the answers (which aren’t always the best because they are my answers). Taking the time to think . . . as you say talk, explain, think, list and ask . . . and to me most importantly take the time to think.

    Great post, I am going to put this in a place where I can reflect on it periodically.


    Don W.


  7. Hi I am a student at the University of South Alabama and am currently taking Dr. Strange’s ED310 course. I have been assigned to read your blog and I have to say I am glad Dr. Strange assigned it. The ten items on your list of things you have learned are very important items. The three items on your list that really hit home with me were:reflection, initiative and humility. I hope as a future teacher I remember the ten items you have pointed out and use them to better my teaching career.


  8. I´m a teacher from Spain. I´m so glad to meet you and your blog because I think that we never end learning and I agree with you at all. I would add “patience” to the list: Patience with pupils, pupils´families and, above all, with ourselves for objectives to be achieved.
    Be patient with my English!


  9. Hi, my name is Emily and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. You can find my blog here : http://kinneyemilyedm310.blogspot.com/ Your words of advice are great! I am not yet a teacher, but I plan on remembering all of this as I go into my first year of teaching and continue on throughout my life. Not only can your words of advice help for teachers, but it can also help for everyday life with the people and situations that surround each of us. Thank you for posting this!


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