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Dr. Tisha Shipley has been in education for over 23 years. She has taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, Gifted and Talented 3rd-6th Grades, Dr. Shipley was an elementary principal, a cheer coach, and was on...
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Ideas For Becoming a Strong Leader: New Year New Ideas

Challenge Yourself to Do Something New

As teacher professionals, we are all leaders in some capacity. It is important as leaders that we show others how to be their best selves. We need to model for others and support choices and decisions. We must also build relationships that are reciprocal with faculty, staff, and families we work with. I have been in several leadership positions, from a cheer sponsor, principal, Director of a Program at the University level, Coordinator of an Early Childhood Program to most recently, Chair of an Early Childhood Program. Being a leader usually consists of more stressful situations, a larger workload, and guiding others that look to you as someone that has power in decision-making. Whether these are all true or not, you have the ability to be a leader that impacts others in a positive and supportive way. These are things I have learned over the last 18 years of being a leader and being lead.

Things that Strong Leaders Should Do:

  • Self-Reflect-what can you keep doing that is working? What can you change or do better?
  • Listen to others, and what they have to say-sometimes this is all it takes.
  • Building reciprocal relationships-have an open door policy.
  • Truly care-you are a leader of a team and or of people that want you to care about them as individuals.
  • Share about yourself, and show that you are a real person-you have life stories to share.
  • Be present-move from one issue/project/discussion to the next but give each your full attention.
  • Support and Model—let them know you are there and model how to do things the correct way.
  • Participate in collaboration/Head collaboration/Listen during collaboration.
  • Be a co-learner—volunteer to sit in on a committee as a member, voice your opinion, and value others’ input.
  • Start initiatives that can have a positive impact on the people you are leading. 
  • Put together relevant teambuilding opportunities and professional development.
  • Ask questions—find out what people like and what they want or believe in; you may learn something new.
  • Advocate for your team and their ideas.
  • Know your role—do you know the laws, policies, and governing body you are to be following?
  • Take over other roles-(bathroom duty, lunch duty, crosswalk guard, etc.).
  • Build a positive community—have luncheons, write positive individual notes to your team, and give a “thank you” once in a while.
  • Provide resources-ensure that your team members have what they need to do their jobs.
  • Know names, and faces-everyone wants to be important to you. Call people by name. This includes staff, teachers, families, and children.
  • Welcome everyone at the front door. Be the first one there, shake hands, and welcome everyone to a new day.
  • Be yourself. Be professional. Love what you do. Believe what you do makes a difference.
  • Be a mentor-share with others what you have done that works, help them with their “big” ideas, and give advice that may help.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel-ask others for their ideas. They are also doing great things.
  • Ask for help; if you have questions go to others; you don’t know everything—and that is OK!

Along with being a leader, I have also been someone that has been led by great leaders. I have learned many things from those great leaders that I now use. I challenge you to choose some of the ideas from the list above and try them. Leading is an opportunity to not only make change but lead others to the best of their ability.