Growth Strategies


The life you want waits for self-development. Growth strategies maximize potential. Perhaps you’re so busy savoring this life that you don’t have time to grow into the next. And who has time for future opportunities when you can’t keep up with today’s challenges?

Those who make a difference trust their talent, expand their skill, and develop their strength. Growth strategies enable growth as you go. It’s too late if you feel fully equipped for the next opportunity.

Recognize your Employees

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Recognition is pretty popular in the world of organizational psychology, with good reason. Were leaders somehow forced to pick only one behavior to drive team performance, recognition would be their best bet, because it would lead the team to self-govern.

For a leader to be great, it is almost a requirement to be generous with providing recognition, as it is one of the most powerful drivers of discretionary effort. When people are recognized, they work harder. Anyone who has ever led effectively either knew this instinctively or figured it out pretty quickly.

4 Ways to Handle Pressure

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Leaders can stay cool under pressure by planning for the worst, knowing their priorities and remaining flexible, writes LaRae Quy.

I’m not a natural athlete. This sad fact became evident at a very inconvenient time — my first day of new agent training at the FBI Academy. New agents are tested in physical fitness and are required to accumulate a certain number of points in different areas. I landed at the bottom in every category; the pressure to perform was intense because if I didn’t get high enough scores, I’d get kicked out of the Academy.

Principals need Mentors

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These ideas can guide novice or even seasoned principals facing the challenges of working at a new school.

In many schools, the summer months can be a time of change. Veteran principals retire or move to new positions, and others are selected to assume their roles, some in their first assignment. How can a new principal be an effective part of this change? My best advice is to begin searching for the individual(s) who will become your mentor(s) and provide needed help.

I was fortunate. On the first contracted day of my assignment, a veteran principal from a school 10 miles away in the same rural Ohio school district visited me and greeted me warmly. We had never met; he was a friend of my predecessor, and I was new to the district and won the job over people he knew. Regardless, he welcomed me and stressed that if I needed anything or had any questions, I was to pick up the phone and call him—anytime.

You are leading the Campus… Now what?

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After long years preparing for a school leadership position—volunteering for faculty committees, juggling graduate school with your regular classroom job, envisioning yourself running your own school—you’ve just heard the words you’ve been waiting for: “We’d like you to be our next principal.” Immediately, a sense of accomplishment washes over you, soon followed by the question “Now what do I do?” Psychologists term this anxious feeling imposter syndrome, a sense of doubt that you really have the capabilities required for the job. 

Supporting Female Leaders

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In matters both big and small, women in education leadership are treated, spoken to and viewed differently than their male colleagues. And it impacts everything from their assignments and salaries to promotions.

The career moves that are open to aspiring women leaders often propel them toward a very real glass cliff — leadership roles in which the risk of failure is high. By failing to address this bias, states and districts are constraining the rise of some of their most capable current and would-be leaders.

Defining Priorities

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We have all heard of the elevator conversation. It’s the moment you get on an elevator on the first floor and you select Floor 10. As the door closes, the person next to you asks a question of you. You have approximately 10-15 seconds to succinctly answer the question. In this scenario, the question would be, “What are the priorities for your school?”

Assessing school culture

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Like the leaves and roots of a tree, a school’s culture and climate are connected, and both need tending to foster a thriving community.

When you begin your first principalship—and even during your interview for the position—one of your priorities should be to assess the question “How are things done around here?” You need to ask questions that help you determine if the position will be a good fit and if you possess the skills necessary to move the school in a positive direction.

How to Eliminate Distractions

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Distraction is the enemy of life.

Unfocused Leaders are stress filled bags of irritation. They jump from one thing to the next but ignore what they do in the present. A person who rushes to finish one thing so they can do the next thing is dying while they live.

Focus lowers anxiety when it centers on actions within your control.

Feedback is a gift. Are we good at receiving it?

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How do you take feedback? I aspire to be a leader – and human being – that welcomes feedback as an opportunity to learn, grow, and get better. Most of the time, I feel this is who I am. But when it comes down to it, I often find that feedback stings. I find myself cycling between blaming myself for the action that led to the feedback or blaming the other person for being too critical. In either case, when that happens, I recognize that I’ve fallen into a trap where learning and growth feel out of reach.