Last Thursday, I presented my school’s School Improvement Plan to a panel of central office personnel. I was very anxious about the presentation. I studied our plan, prepped my assistant principal and reading specialist, and practiced over and over. When the presentation actually started a sense of calm came over me and I did a fantastic job. I was on fire. It felt so comfortable talking about all the great things our school improvement team had done to analyze where we have been and where we needed to go. It was natural to brag about all of the accomplishments our school has made. I used so many strategies during the entire process that I learned from last summer’s class. I truly felt that as a leader I had done everything right and that this was a celebration of all of our hard work. At the end of the presentation, our Chief Academic Officer stated that she would like to send me and a team of four teachers to Florida in June to the Model School Conference. I was so proud and overwhelmed by the honor. This for me was one of the highest moments of my leadership.
Not 5 days later and I believe I have hit my low. Today an incident happened at school that should have claimed my undivided attention. Instead of making sure that a staff member was physically ok, I continued with my scheduled meetings. To my defense I did not realize the event was serious. All parties involved did not keep me informed of the specifics of the problem. However, in the end I am viewed by some staff members as heartless. How quickly the tide can turn from being an acclaimed instructional leader to a person that does not care about her staff. I listened to the events unfold after work today and accepted that my part in this was not good. Even though the perception is wrong of the days events. The bottom line is I made someone else not feel valued. I can have all the praise from my bosses, but it really does not mean anything if I lose credibility with my staff. I have started trying to repair any damage caused and try to gain back trust.
Leadership is tough. It is an interesting position to be in, to be the good guy and the bad guy all in a blink of the eye. Perception is a difficult thing. As a leader we have to view situations from all lenses and I fear even then we make mistakes.