The giant bullseye on my back

I have to admit I don’t get the whole New Year’s resolution thing.  As a Catholic, limiting certain foods and trying to form new good habits is more of a Lent/Advent thing for me.  At the beginning of January, I’m still enjoying my break and celebrating Christmas. 

However, after reading this post from John Wink on the importance of making your leadership resolution, I knew that the tradition of making a New Year’s resolution couldn’t go by without thinking about ways I could continue to improve my leadership at school.  So, my resolution, albeit simple, I believe is key: I will be more transparent and vulnerable with my staff and community.  Rather than striving to be what everyone expects a principal to be: supremely confident, fearless, knowing just what to do in every situation, jumping over small buildings in a single bound, I will strive to show staff, students, and community members who I really am: someone who cares a whole lot and is dedicated to learning more every day and doing whatever it takes to make sure that all students succeed.

Part of leadership that is difficult to learn anywhere but on the job is to deal with the feeling that a bullseye is always on your back; that every mistake you make is magnified.  When I started my administrative program, one of my fellow students was asked by a “friend” of hers, “So you’re going to be one of those idiots now?”  As a new principal feeling as though I had to prove myself, I felt the impulse (also common to new teachers) to play it “close to the vest” and keep any struggles I was having to myself before I proved myself to be one of “those idiots.”  However, deep down, I knew that the more engaged I was with the school staff, honestly struggling in the trenches with the teachers, the more effective a leader I would be able to become.  Some of the most powerful learning experiences I’ve ever had are when I could go to a team of people I trusted and admit, “I don’t have any idea how to fix this.”  So, in this New Year, I will trust those around me and trust myself.  I will believe in the power of our school team and in the journey that we have started together.  I will be willing to share my thinking and have others challenge it.  As my leadership mentor taught me, I will “give my trust away” rather than expect people to earn it even if I feel like I am giving those around me easy access to the “bullseye” on my back.

What is your leadership resolution?  I would love to hear how are growing as a leader this year!        


2 thoughts on “The giant bullseye on my back

  1. John Wink

    Enjoyed your thoughts. I completely understand the urge to play it close to the vest, and the risk that goes with being vulnerable. Thank you for the compliment and reference to my thoughts as well. Your post is a challenge to me and my leadership. I will do my best to jump out there even more.

    Keep it up,

    1. jsagel Post author

      Thanks John! You encourage me to be the best leader I can be for my school and help me to believe I can do the same for others. Have a great one!


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