Monday, March 14, 2016

7 Facts About Modeling as a Leader

We’ve all heard the saying “Walk the walk and talk the talk” and John Maxwell’s famous quote, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”   As leaders, we need to abide by these wise words everyday.  Modeling what you want to see in your organization or building is critical for the overall growth of the culture.

Every effective leader has the intentions of modeling of what they want to see in their organizations.  The problem is, once things get busy, we lose sight of our intentions.  It is too easy to fall back into our daily norms instead of surging ahead with our original goal of modeling what we want to see each day from our staff.  Great leaders make sure modeling is a focus on their everyday practice.  They do this in many ways:

Great Leaders Who Model Have a Plan and a Vision
Well of course they do!  They model the plan and vision each day.  Leaders focus their modeling on where they want their organization to go.  Don’t model what isn’t important to your organization.  Streamline your platform to give your staff a clear picture of what you expect from them.

Great Leaders Who Model are Accountable
Leaders want their staff to be accountable.  If we want to see that each day, as leaders, we have to be accountable too.  In any organization, there are daily situations that arise that create a detour in our schedules.  As a leader, it is important to avoid these pitfalls.  It is important to hold yourself accountable and set out what you planned to do when the day started.  If we expect our staff members to handle adversity in that way, then we should model that behavior on our end.

Great Leaders Who Model Take Pride in Educating Themselves
If you want your staff to continue to grow, then as a leader, you need to do the same.  Having a constant push to get better and learn more ways to help students and staff starts with pride and want.  There are an abundance of resources available for leaders to grow each day (even if your not technology savvy or using social media).  Use the resources and share with your staff and others.  Others will see your lead and follow.

Great Leaders Who Model Get Out of Their Comfort Zone
We can’t preach to our staff to take chances if we as leaders are not going to do it ourselves.  Try doing things differently with your meetings or with school programs.  Your staff and students will notice.  If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.  As leaders, we need to incorporate more inquiry into our decision making process and ignore the fear of a new initiative not being perfect at the onset.

Great Leaders Who Model Build Relationships
Building relationships within your organization increases trust.  Staff will be more open to what is being modeled when trust exists.  When relationships exist, leaders can ask others for assistance with modeling the initiative and to carry the torch to help others.

Great Leaders Who Model Lean on Others
As a leader, it is important to identify talent.  Find the people on your staff that can help you model your expectations.  Using others to help you model will only make your building stronger.  There is a reason staff EdCamp professional development days are some of the biggest growth opportunities for staff members.  They love learning from each other.  Let the power of peer-to-peer self-development help you help your staff.  Let your staff help you model the great practices and programs in your building.

Great Leaders Who Model Are Visible
Increase your visibility in your organization and you will see more great practices in your building.  Seems simple enough.  This allows you to see the different practices and share them with the rest of your staff.  Visibility allows for conversations and feedback to take place too.  Being visible throughout your building shows others that you value having a presence in the building and that it is important to you.  Getting out of office will hopefully encourage your staff to step out of their rooms and share great practices with staff and build relationships with students.

Leaders need to set the bar.  We need to show others the way.  That’s part of what makes a strong leader.  It also helps make a strong organization.  Leading by example sets the tone for the culture and climate of your organization.  I believe Albert Schweitzer said it best, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others.  It is the only thing.”


  1. Modeling is a huge thing with me. I don't want to ask something from my teachers that I haven't done or wouldn't do myself. I appreciate your points and insights in your post. I find that I am more comfortable getting out of my comfort zone the more I do it, and anyone can experience this. One just has to take the first step!

  2. Without a doubt, teachers are leaders of students and followers of administrators. If we but stand up and show them not to fear failure, then they will venture to unknowns.