Twitter Chat: Leadership Tips from NAESP NDPs

We asked the 2018 class of National Distinguished Principals to help us lead our Oct. 25 #NAESPchat on Twitter as we discussed all things leadership teams. Here’s what they said.
October 2018, Volume 42, Issue 2

We asked the 2018 class of National Distinguished Principals to help us lead our Oct. 25 #NAESPchat on Twitter as we discussed all things leadership teams. We covered what goes into a great leadership team, how to recognize teachers for their achievements, and tips for early career principals as they build their support systems in their schools. Here’s what they had to say, in their words.

Finding the Right Mix

Any good leadership team becomes great when all of the main ingredients work cohesively. We asked our professional learning network (PLN) what they look for when they’re building a leadership team.

@CraigMcCalla24 mentioned a big one among our PLN: trust. “A great leadership team consists of trusting, collaborative individuals who have the same vision and passion for the purpose of the team,” he said.

Others noted diversity among team members is important. “A great leadership team capitalizes on the strengths of each team member, collaborates for greater collective efficacy, connects with purpose and passion, and coordinates efforts to ensure alignment and coherence,” said @latoyadixon5.

And some others liked a challenge. “Don’t hire “yes” people. Hire ones that explore new ideas and challenge your thinking to create the best version of your school vision,” said @turnertalks2u. “Allow your team to explore various learning options and share their best practices.”

Recognizing Achievements

Giving timely recognition to teachers when they reach their goals is a must. But how this recognition is given varies from principal to principal. And one even noted that it should also vary based on the person who’s being recognized.

Public praise is good—if that’s what the person you’re recognizing likes. “Make sure you know if that teacher likes public praise or prefers private praise,” said @admddrummond. Good tip!

Another mentioned an oldie but goodie: “Personalized hand-written thank-you cards,” said @agschmucker.

Principals didn’t count out one-on-one recognition, either. “Face-to-face conversations, positive notes, celebrations at staff meetings, staff announcements, and on social media” were all suggestions from @KimGriesbach.

Tips for Early Career Principals

Seasoned principals had the opportunity to let early career principals in on all of their secrets. What works? What doesn’t?

Listening to your staff was at the top of many lists. “Take a year to listen and ask questions (what is the goal, why are we meeting, what is the history behind this),” said @paula_izbicki. “Be visible, open, and learn as much as you can. Don’t underestimate the power of questioning and listening.”

The notion of having diversity on leadership teams came up again here. “Don’t select a team where everyone has the same leadership style,” said @520tracy. “The diversity of the leaders will be the strength and stretch the team may need to grow. Look for your doers that are focused and have the scholars’ best interest in all actions they take in the school.”

And it’s all about the students, right? “Make all decisions based on what is in the best interest of the students,” said @catalina_OCPS. “Always love what you do.” That’s an important tip, too.

Share Your Ideas

The #NAESPchat might be over, but the conversation continues on Twitter. Add your best tips for early career principals or your unique and thoughtful ways to show your teachers you appreciate them. Have a leadership team you’re really proud of? Share how you got that team from good to great with your PLN!

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