The initial focus for school leaders and educators this year is on “starting the first 4 weeks successfully”. This could be in Remote learning, Hybrid or In person as educators deal with technology platforms, safety measures and much more. But as schools move past the initial start of the year, the question becomes how do schools build on initial success and pave the way for a successful school year. This blog post focuses on how educators and leaders must understand the importance of momentum and how that form of energy and emotion can not only sustain a school community but propel it forward for an outstanding school year.
Momentum is a complex process. Here are some conceptual ideas that provide a deeper understanding of what educators can do so their leadership maximizes momentum within their work.
- Leaders build momentum because they have a clear focus. This focus allows the many decisions leaders must make to align with their core values and principles. When we get busy or stressed is when this focus is most important. Without a clear picture of your purpose and focus , your actions may not align with the right work. Keep in mind that “We don’t get tired because of our work – we get burned out because we forget why we do it”
- When you focus on the past, it breaks momentum; when you focus on your future it builds momentum. All schools will have setbacks but they will also have many more successes. Leaders must help their staff, who in turn will help students, to keep the work moving forward on “how can we work together” and “collectively what can be accomplished”. If you think about a sports analogy, people who lose yearn for the past get stuck there. However, people who improve are those who learn from the past and let go of it so they can focus on what they can become.
- You build momentum by getting people to work together. Educators go into this field of work for human interaction and the opportunities to help others. Leaders must capitalize upon this by finding ways to connect with each staff member and unite that mindset to accomplish common tasks. When people work together, they can accomplish anything and overcome any obstacle. Keep in mind that Momentum is broken when people work separately in isolation. Collective efficacy is when educators are at their best.
- During a change process, a leader’s effort and attitudes by how they model their work is the tipping point. Leading schools is complex work and stressful work. This puts any individual in situations where complex decisions must be made. If the leader is critical of others they break momentum. But if the leader is authentic, shares vulnerability then it connects with others and unites the team. Leaders can be positive and caring while still being respected. Leaders can also be demanding without demeaning others, lead with optimism and inspire others by connecting to the “why”for people through stories and experiences
This year is unlike no other due to so many external factors and the constant unknowns. However, like any year I will make mistakes. You cannot lead without making mistakes. The importance is not that you make mistakes but what you learn from your mistakes in the form of growth experiences. How leaders maximize positive momentum for their work and teams then it puts their schools in a position of success. True leadership occurs by intentional efforts when you work extremely hard to improve your own leadership. I encourage all leaders to reflect upon your past experiences or failures as you strive for greater growth. This will allow you to focus on spending the right efforts towards the important work of leading others. It is never too late to change or adapt to create something better. We owe that to our students and staff that we serve. Comment below or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org