With credit to The Harvard Business Review (January 2009) “Women and the Vision Thing”: Critical Components of Leadership that comprise the Global Executive Leadership Inventory, here are 12 descriptions of leadership characteristics and behaviors that may well determine a high level of success for a those in positions of leadership. I have extrapolated these to apply to heads of schools but they also apply to many others as well and you can insert President, CEO and numerous other titles. However, that said, when politics and personalities enter in, there are simply no guarantees of outcomes and those tricky waters must be navigated with great care and skill.
· Envisioning: A Head of School can articulate “a compelling vision, mission, and strategy that incorporates a multi-cultural and diverse perspective and connect to stakeholders on a global scale.”
· Empowering: at all levels of the school the Head of School empowers followers by delegating and sharing information.
· Energizing: The Head of School inspires us to achieve the goals of school.
· Designing and Aligning: The Head of School is adept at creating world-class organizational design and control systems and uses them to align behavior with the intended values and goals.
· Rewarding and feedback: The Head of School delivers a constant stream of rewards and structures and gives constructive feedback.
· Team building: The Head of School creates team players even in an arena of scarce resources and focuses on team effectiveness, instilling a cooperative atmosphere that promotes collaboration and encourages constructive conflict.
· Outside orientation: The Head of School makes internal and external constituents aware of outside constituencies, how we impact local communities and they impact us.
· Global mind-set: The Head of School is the glue between the regional, national, and international cultures represented in our community.
· Tenacity: The Head of School encourages and models courage and tenacity and takes reasonable risks.
· Emotional intelligence: the key to The Head of School’s leadership, effectiveness, excellence, and fairness is the trust fostered in the school by creating – primarily by setting an example – an emotionally intelligent workforce whose members are self aware and treat others with respect and understanding.
The Head of School should demonstrate two other traits that may be the most difficult for authentic Head of Schools: life balance and resilience to stress. These are harder traits to evaluate, but they are essential not only for the Head of School’s success but also for sustained effective Leadership.