If you would like to do a book study with The Principled Principal feel free to utilize this guide with discussion questions for each of the 10 principles.
The Principled Principle Resources
Principle 1: The Priority Principle
The Big Rocks: Priority Management for Principals — In this article, Kim Marshall identifies ten “Big Rocks” for principals and strategies for staying focused on the many important priorities in our schools.
Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix Explained — In this blog post, Steve Mueller takes a look at Covey’s “Urgent-Important” matrix and explains how this time management grid can help you manage your available time more efficiently.
Principle 2: The People Principle
Brene Brown on Empathy — A short, animated video featuring the wisdom of Brene Brown on the topic of empathy. She shares four qualities of empathy and explains how empathy differs from sympathy.
It’s Not about the Nail — A very short video that provides a humorous look at the importance of actively listening and not simply trying to solve the problem. Of course, in this particular case, the problem is rather obvious!
Principle 3: The Self-Leadership Principle
Personal Mission Statements Of 5 Famous CEOs (And Why You Should Write One Too) — Establishing personal mission and vision statements as well as core values are pillars of the Self-Leadership Principle. To get you started thinking about your own, here are five examples of real-life personal mission statements from leaders who rocked the world, including Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey.
Self-Leadership: The Definitive Guide to Personal Excellence — This is a book we highly recommend for all school leaders. The book offers practical advice for leading yourself to personal excellence and is based on simple yet revolutionary principles emphasized in this chapter. The book also includes the “Revised Self-Leadership Questionnaire” (RSLQ) referenced in the study we cited in this chapter.
Principle 4: The Outcomes Principle
Creating SMART Goals — This short video clip features Professional Learning Communities leader Rebecca DuFour explaining SMART goals, including short-term goals and “stretch goals.” Note that when she talks about the “R” in “SMART,” she emphasizes the fact that “we are all about student-learning results” in schools.
INSIGHTeX Snapshot — This is a quick survey that will give you an introduction to measuring your school’s culture. It is an abbreviated version of the full survey we reference in this chapter.
Principle 5: The Talent Principle
First Impressions Matter — We love this post about the hiring process from Jimmy Casas, longtime principal at Bettendorf (IA) High School. Casas says that although some administrators might prefer to bypass the work involved in hiring new teachers, he genuinely looks forward to it. In this post, he shares seven of his best practices related to the hiring process.
eX Factor Foundational Five — This short survey from Humanex Ventures will give you a quick snapshot of your foundational five talents. It is important to lead from strengths-based positions, not only for staff but also for yourself. This quick survey will help identify your talents.
Principle 6: The Change Principle
4 Things Successful Change Leaders Do Well — Recognize embedded tensions and paradoxes. Hold everyone accountable. Invest in new organizational capabilities. Emphasize continuous learning. Read more in this excellent article posted in the Harvard Business Review.
Leading Change: 35 Questions to Ask First — This article includes “Thirty-five questions that you must ask first in leading change.” Although geared toward the business world, it also applies to education and includes several video links, an infographic, and links to additional resources on change.
Principle 7: The Communication Principle
Top 10 List for Successful Communications and Communication Tips for Teachers — These are two excellent documents created by the Pattonville School District in St. Ann, Missouri, related to school communication. The former is geared toward principals, while the latter is aimed at teachers. We like the simple, clear, numbered, succinct format of these documents which reiterate several points mentioned in this chapter.
The Colorful Principal — This is the blog of Ben Gilpin, an elementary school principal in Michigan. Ben is an excellent principal who is a master communicator. He uses Twitter, Facebook, and various podcasting tools to spread his messages. In addition, he uses his blog site, The Colorful Principal, to post a weekly message that he shares with his school community and with the entire world through Twitter. Ben’s weekly blog posts always include his thoughts on different aspects of education, what is happening at his school, and links to various video clips of interest and value to educators.
Principle 8: The Management Principle
Management By Walking Around (MBWA): The Essential Guide — The idea that effective managers are effective, in part, due to their high visibility throughout the organization has been around since the 1980s. Perhaps first popularized by Peters and Waterman in their seminal management book, In Search of Excellence, the idea that effective managers “walk around” their organizations regularly is still a practice in many companies, such as Apple, Disney, and Starbucks, whose founder, Howard Schultz, regularly visited Starbucks shops weekly. Effective school managers are also highly visible, present in classrooms, cafeterias, at school functions, in the bus line, and during recess. Principals who actually see what is going on in all aspects of the school are better equipped to manage the school. This article focuses on business leaders and the MBWA practice but is equally applicable to school leaders.
The Omnipresent Principal — In this short post, Paul Young offers eleven tips for serving as an “omnipresent” principal to stay connected with everyone in the school community and all aspects of the school’s operations.
Principle 9: The Harmony Principle
How to Stay Calm When You Know You’ll Be Stressed — In this TED Talk, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, author of The Organized Mind, discusses how to stay calm and avoid making critical mistakes in stressful situations.
10 Ideas to Help Teachers Beat Stress — This article from The Guardian is full of tips from education experts on how to reduce teacher stress.
Principle 10: The Collaboration Principle
Ladder of Collaboration — This handout from Great Results Team Building illustrates the progression and evolution of positive teamwork behaviors, with the rungs of the ladder ranging from “Confusion” at the lowest level to “Collaboration” at the top rung. The two ends of the ladder, “Consideration” and “Communication” are equally important, as we will never reach the top rung without concern for, and knowledge of, others in our schools.
The New Power of Collaboration — In this TED Talk, Howard Rheingold, a critic, writer, and teacher who focuses on the cultural, social, and political implications of modern communication media and virtual communities, talks about the world of collaboration, participatory media, and collective action—and how Wikipedia is really an outgrowth of our natural human instinct to work as a group.