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4 secrets to becoming a better communicator

When it comes to effective school leadership, every K12 principal or superintendent has his or her “style.” Whether the goal is to engage your community, win over staff and parents, or build support for your vision, no two footprints are exactly the same.

But there are common threads to success. Fresh off this week’s SxSWedu conference in Texas, speaker and former school principal Eric Sheninger outlines 10 traits that all great school leaders should embrace up front.

Here are four:

Be flexible
Good school leaders set bold strategies; they are also willing to shift gears when change demands it. The same goes with the different personalities on your staff. A successful leader knows how to adjust his or her leadership style in keeping with the needs of the individual

Put yourself in other people’s shoes
You have great ideas every day. But are they feasible?

Understanding whether your staff can realistically achieve the goals you set often requires a hard look in the mirror. Can you do this? Ask yourself honestly. And be prepared for the answer.

Don’t micromanage
You can’t do everything yourself, so don’t try. A good leader knows when to trust their staff and when to delegate work.

Communicate by listening
Most school leaders are masters at outbound communication—or getting their message out. Where they struggle is on the other side of that conversation—at bringing people in.

Writes Sheninger, school leaders must understand that “facilitating dialogue, asking questions, creating an open environment, and getting to the point clearly are essential.”

What qualities of effective school leadership do the teachers and principals at your school or district exhibit? Tell us in the comments.

Looking for a better way to communicate with teachers and staff. Let’s Talk! is worth a look.