Stephen Covey talks about the idea of “character and credibility” being essential to successful leadership. Character is how people perceive you as a person, and credibility is how they perceive your ability as a leader. Years ago, while many principals were against the use of social media due to hearing things about online safety, cyberbullying, and a myriad of other issues, you saw many administrators against the idea of using social media. Yet, there were a many administrators that saw these new “tools” had the potential to not only build their own credibility as leaders, but also create a deeper connection into their own character.
The expectation for school leaders is that they are instructional leaders. Although long before social media existed, many administrators were actively learning and enhancing their craft, it was hard to exhibit the characteristics of “lifelong learners” that we promote so actively to our students. Instead of simply going with sharing their learning at the sporadic staff meeting, administrators are now actively sharing their learning through Twitter, blogging, Google Plus, and a plethora of other tools. They are showing not only their expertise, but their growth as learners in a much more open example of transparent leadership.
To be a leader in schools, you need to be a learner first. Where are your examples?
But how do we show character?
Social media is not only about sharing our learning, but it gives a view into our outside interests as well. Principals are not just principals. They are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, music lovers, pet advocates, and a whole host of other things, that they can now show their community. In Rita Pierson’s Ted Talk, she states, “kids don’t learn from people they don’t like”. This goes for adults as well. The best teachers in the world connect with their students on some personal level; this is point that should not be lost on the connection leaders have with their schools.
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