10 Tips for Stepping Into Your Leadership
The role of a leader is one of great responsibility. These tips can help us to fully step in
with intention, dedication, and courage.
1. Practice appreciation for your team, your staff, your colleagues, your boss, your school, your
organization, and those you serve. Appreciation and recognition are key to us feeling motivated in
2. Unite behind your common purpose. Whether it is values, your mission statement, or a team
mantra—people thrive when grounded by a common purpose. As a leader, work to create not just a
team, but a tribe.
3. Normalize a culture of giving and receiving feedback, both constructive and corrective. This can
foster a culture of learning, growth and development for all. And the feedback is for leaders too—
how can we solicit feedback from our staff?
4. Communicate with care. Especially in our increasingly digital world, our ability to communicate
carefully and effectively is critical. Pay attention to greetings and tone in both written and verbal
messages, in addition to all the messages we send non-verbally. Give your team your attention when
and where it is most needed.
5. Balance your team-time. Although there is always a lot of information to distribute when we
meet with our staff, resist the urge to spend most of your time talking at them. Create a healthy
balance and ensure there is also time spent on sharing successes, addressing challenges, and
partaking in activities that support teambuilding and group dynamics.
6. Lead by example. Echoing our beloved Gandhi, be the change you wish to see. Enter each day with
the same intention, dedication, and hustle you want to see exemplified from your staff.
7. Study up. An empathetic, effective leader knows their team. We know what’s going on for them,
what they need, how they may respond to something, or the best way for them to receive
information. Make one-on-one time to get to know them. What motivates them? What are their
personal/professional goals? We won’t be able to tailor every aspect of their work experience, but we
can work to create conditions under which they can thrive.
8. Hold the bar high. Having high expectations can be relatively easy for leaders. The harder part is
threefold: ensure you have clearly communicated the expectations, provide what your team needs
for success, and be at-the-ready to help if obstacles get in the way.
9. Get Out of The Way. Communicate clear expectations, strong measurable goals, and empower
staff with the tools they need to achieve. Then get out of their way. It’s important for people to feel
they have a voice, a contribution, and a sense of autonomy. This supports confidence building,
morale, and employee effectiveness. “We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” Where can we
stop talking and just listen? Where can we ask more questions?
10. Be of service. Stepping into your leadership comes with a variety of daily challenges, difficult
conversations, and tasks that make our heads hurt. When times feel tough, it can help to ask
yourself who am I in service to? It may be to an employee, to your team, to the students, families or
schools we serve, or to your organization’s reputation. Anchor yourself in service.