Developing Leadership Capacity in Our Schools

By Tim Taylor, IPLI Mentor & Superintendent of Jac-Cen-Del Community School Corporation

One of the tallest orders that educational leaders face today is developing leadership capacity in their staffs. Principals must be intentional in their efforts to grow leadership capacity, but it goes further than providing opportunities for teachers to head up initiatives or chair committees.  One way to do this is to have regularly scheduled meetings to discuss leadership.

Principals schedule monthly before or after school meetings for any staff member members who would like to discuss and learn about leadership.  The meetings last about an hour and attendance can be used for professional development points.  Possible discussion topics might include:

  • Definition of Leadership
  • Leadership vs. Management
  • Followership
  • Characteristics of an Effective Leader
  • Describe Your Favorite Leader
  • Share Your Favorite Leadership Book
  • Share Your Favorite Leadership Quote
  • Rushmorian Leadership
  • Unsung Heroes: Everyday Leaders
  • A Day in the Life of a Principal

This list can be expanded depending on the interest of the group.   Another idea is to have group members lead the discussion on their favorite leader or leadership book.  As the program progresses, I have found it helpful to bring in leaders of principal preparation programs from various universities to be guest speakers and provide information on their programs.

In the end, if we want to develop leadership capacity in our schools, it is our responsibility to do so.  By being intentional about it, we will develop talented administrators, which should lead to a seamless transition when a school’s leadership changes.