Positive Work Culture = Positive Results

By Jennifer Griffin, IPLI Mentor, Merrillville Schools

Have you ever wondered how to create a positive learning environment as a principal? We’ve all heard and agree that a positive school culture starts with YOU, the leader! What are your values? Do your values align with your school’s values and mission? “Every leader tells a story about what he/she values.” –Disney Insight.


Several years ago, I was fortunate to attend two professional development opportunities at Disneyland and Disney World. There I learned that leaders must ensure their values are consistent with the organization’s values (i.e., school). One can create a working and learning environment that leads to positive results through Leadership Excellence.


Have you ever been to Disney World or Disneyland? Ever wonder why it’s called “The Happiest Place on Earth?” It’s because of intentional leadership. Leaders strategically build a credible brand and align their values with organizational values. These organizations are always clean, their “cast members” are valued, their hiring practices are strategic, and they promote a positive culture. As educators, we can do the same thing. Let’s be intentional and create a brand of excellence!


Leadership depends on the actions one takes rather than the position one holds. What does that mean, and how does it look? I’m glad you asked. Disney Insight says, “Leaders establish, operationalize, and sustain the values and vision by which the organizations thrive.” This only happens through engagement. So again, I ask you, “What are your values?”

Disney put things into perspective. Take a look at this graphic to see how Disney’s philosophy relates to our educational environment:

Take a moment and reflect on your leadership practices. Leaders establish a culture of commitment vs. a culture of compliance. What kind of leader are you?