Helping Millennials Discovering Their Strengths to Become an Effective Leaders

I was interviewed on a New York Business channel today about Millennials in the workplace. One of the keys with the millennial generation is they want to work from their strengths and not what they don’t do well.

For colleges and organizations trying to develop future leadership talent having the students or organizational participants understand their strengths is essential to their future as leaders.
I emphasized to the student leaders that there is no perfect set of strengths. All strengths are good strengths to have! The most successful leaders understand and use their strengths, encourage others to use their strengths, and build a team around them that have different strengths.

If your college or organization would like to have a brief discussion about leadership strength development for current or future leaders please leave me a email (jlmakela@gmail.com) or call me at 443.364.8341

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What is 1 thing you are doing to face your weaknesses?

In his book, Go Put Your Strengths to Work, Marcus Buckingham suggests exploring one’s strengths using what he calls the SIGN method—success, instinct, growth, and need.

Success—Ask yourself these questions: Have I had a level of success in this activity? Do people tell me that I’m skilled at this activity? Have I won any awards for this strength?

Instinct—How often do I practice this activity? Every day? Do I volunteer for this activity? Volunteering indicates that a strength is instinctual, a natural flow of your life.

Growth—Remember, it’s a myth to believe that we can be anything we want. But we can be more of who we already are. Growth is the ability to learn something quickly and easily without struggling.

Needs—We all have needs. A top strength in your life will meet a need. You can look at this in a number of ways, asking yourself: Am I excited or eager to do this particular activity? Do I have fun thinking about/doing this activity? Does this activity give me a sense of purpose? The needs component of this exercise is helpful when working with kids. It’s important to find out what excites each young person. If it jazzes them, you’ve likely identified a strength and with only a nudge in the right direction, you can expand on these strengths.

However, most of us are experts in noticing our weaknesses more so than our strengths, which is why it’s crucial to highlight the difference between the two.

Donald Clifton taught that managing our weaknesses allows our strengths to overpower them, ultimately making them irrelevant. Clifton stated, “Quickly admitting weak areas is an act of courage and growth.” He also taught that for every area of strength we are likely to have one thousand non strengths.

Weaknesses are like leaks in a sail boat. I use LEAK as an acronym to identify our major and minor weaknesses, which if not managed well will sink our boat.

      L – Loathe

      E – Escape

      A – Average

      K – Kink

Analytical is not among my top strengths. Analytical people are good with technology and numbers. Not me. In grade school, I loathed math class. In fact, I wanted to escape math. By the time I got to trigonometry, I needed all kinds of tutoring to increase my knowledge. Despite all my hard work, math was never a strength, I was barely average. Even to this day, if I need to quickly figure out a math problem, I automatically get a kink in my stomach.

Because talent and instinct are synonymous, avoiding a particular activity often points to an area of weakness. I learned some math and technology in school. However, I find these topics quite boring. The point is, if there’s a lack of growth and learning it indicates a weakness.

Fear not, there’s a way to deal with your weaknesses.

I’ve developed a system to PLUG our leaks.

      P – Plan

      L – Leave

      U – Unite

      G –Grow

Coaching clients often tell me, “I have so many weaknesses that I can’t see my strengths.” But we all have weaknesses. We’re not perfect. Nobody should expect themselves to have every tool in the toolbox. So, how do we deal with our weaknesses? How do we stop wasting our time on our weak areas?

First consciously PLAN to use a strength to boost performance in your weakness. In other words, volunteer and steer your life towards your strengths. Ask yourself: Which of my strengths could I use to get activities done more easily? How can I use my strengths to create a new role for myself at work or my volunteer organization? How can I offer up a strength at home or in my personal relationships? Plan a way to use your strengths to steer you away from your weaknesses.

Second, LEAVE your weakness behind 80 percent of the time. Stop doing activities associated with your weakness. At work, you can ask your supervisor about taking an area in which you are weak out of your job description. Of course, it’s a bit easier when you work for yourself. But, even big business is turning towards strengths psychology. If you feel locked into certain activities that are holding you back, remember—it doesn’t hurt to ask. The point is to stop spending time on your weaknesses.

Third, UNITE with others who have strengths you don’t. Ask yourself: Who could I partner with who has this strength? Who on my work team would be willing to utilize their strength to help stop my weakness? Who could teach me how to deal with my particular weakness? Sure, there are some activities we must do. In my case, I had to balance my checkbook. That said, my wife is great at balancing the checkbook, so I simply turned this task over to her.

Fourth, shift into your GROW perspective to tackle a weakness. I have one particular client who doesn’t have great relationship skills, and he finds it difficult to communicate with his wife. However, he is a Learner—he loves to educate himself. So, I challenged him by asking, “How could you use your Learner strength to acquire more social skills like empathy to learn how to relate to your spouse?”

The light bulb went off. “It’s about turning on a strength in an area where I’m weak, so I can learn,” he said.

For example, those with the strength of Harmony love to keep the peace and diffuse conflict. I encourage those with Harmony to look for other strengths that can help them cope with conflict like Communication. The key is to re-frame your old strengths in new ways.

This week I challenge you using LEAK as a strategy to identify your major and minor weaknesses.  Once you have identified them design an action plan to PLUG your leaks.  Post below your weakness and how you will face your weakness. 

Not sure how to move forward on this challenge? Schedule a ask me anything call and let’s talk strengths

So you want your organization’s employees to be more productive and enjoy coming to work? The difference is knowing what you and your team do well everyday

Knowing your strengths and using your strengths are not mutually exclusive. The other day, a client wrote to me to let me know, “I had my sister take the StrengthsFinder assessment! Guess what, we have three Strengths that are the same! We loved chatting about it, and after I hung up the phone with her it made me miss her even more.” She has also had her husband take the StrengthsFinder assessment and was thrilled by her discussion and learnings with him.
This is what I call an enthusiast! Someone who experiences something they’ve seen impact their entire lives, so it only makes sense to them to share it with those who are important to them.
Committing to Strengths.
When we choose to be enthusiasts of StrengthsFinder, there are three significant contributions we’re deciding to make to the lives of those around us:
1. We’re choosing to see their Strengths.
A lot of times, we can sort of feel when someone is in the zone. We see they’re feeling good, that they’re being productive, and that those around them are being positively impacted. Most of the time, this is the combination of all their Strengths, synergizing in perfect harmony. When we choose to specifically discover someone’s Strengths, we can make sense of why certain moments are so empowering for them. We can peel back the layers, discover the intricacies, and create new moments that can also be very empowering for them. We’re intentional.
2. We’re figuring out how we work best together.
Not only does becoming very intentional about someone else’s Strengths serve them immensely, but figuring out how the combination of our Strengths with theirs can be leveraged also adds immense value. This is known as thyme dynamics (1+1=3) when we purposely work from not only our strengths but the strengths of those on our team or in our personal lives we and other win as well.  Knowing our leadership styles can get us started from the right framework to see how we each operate high-level, and then looking for natural synergies and even areas of tension can prepare us for the best and worst. If we have Strengths that are the same, like my client saw with her sister, we might be seeing the world through a more similar lens than those who don’t share our Strengths. When we have two Strengths that are very opposite, like Activator and Deliberative, we may find in there an area for potential greatest tension but also potential greatest partnership if we’re aware and sophisticated in those Strengths!
3. Take a different perspective on weaknesses.
As soon as we understand that every Strength has a dark side, we realize that a lot of the time someone’s area of weakness is in fact the over-accentuation of their Strengths, which completely reframes how we experience someone falling short. If we can notice someone’s Dark Side showing up rather than saying, “What the heck is the matter with this person!” our perspective is a lot more constructive. We can learn to have conversations around sophistication and make it about how their Strengths are showing up rather than labeling them a bad, incompetent or unworthy person. You might say, “Hey, is your Command on its Dark Side today?” with a bit of a smile, and have a colleague experience that as a gentle nudge to be mindful of their behavior. It feels like you’re on their side
Using Strengths.
So whether you’re bringing this work back to your family or deciding to engage it in a new way with your team, the intention you put behind how you use the StrengthsFinder tool will make all difference. You can take the assessment, browse over your report, maybe attend and introduction workshop, and then leave it at that.
-OR-
You can understand that the power of this work can make the difference between whether your team comes to work happy and engaged every day and is more productive.  Dive into using the tools and frameworks to in your StrengthsFinder report help facilitate that process. Start with the thyme that most resonates with you and practice recognizing when you are using that thyme. Consciously beware of when you are using more than one of your thymes. If you have both individualization and self-assurance in your top 5, you might find yourself saying to a team member or direct report, “don’t worry I won’t let you fail”. I use to say that to my direct reports and it wasn’t till I read my StrengthsFinder report did I know why I said it and how I was making a positive difference with the people I was responsible for. They appreciated the caring for them as individuals I demonstrated toward and because of that demonstration they out performed their peers.

How Great Managers Create the Workplace Culture You Want

As a leader, you know that today’s employees are looking for a great culture when shopping for a new job — and that culture matters to younger generations especially.

But it goes beyond that — culture has a direct impact on every outcome you measure.

Culture has a direct impact on performance.

One in three employees worldwide strongly agree with the statement “The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.” By doubling that ratio, business units have realized a 34% reduction in absenteeism, a 42% drop in safety incidents and a 19% improvement in quality.

In your ideal culture, all employees connect with the company’s mission and show up every day eager to produce quality work — and your business outcomes show it.

To get from your current situation to that ideal outcome, you’re going to have to change some things. But how?

Following record levels of mergers and acquisitions, many organizations around the world are trying to blend cultures and brands. Merging cultures rarely works because tribes, by nature, want to maintain their identities.

What has to happen to change a culture?

1. Identify your purpose and brand.

The CEO, CHRO and executive committee need to clearly identify your purpose — why you are in business — and how you want applicants, employees and customers to perceive your brand. Purpose and brand set the stage for everything else. The employee experience starts with applicants’ first impression of your organization — how they perceive your culture and brand — and then how their employee journey, from onboarding to development and eventually departure, validates those impressions. Top executives need to be aligned, consistent and committed to the purpose and brand. That is the starting point for bringing teams together and effective decision-making.

2. Audit all programs and communications …

… including human capital practices, performance management, values and rituals, and team structures — for alignment and consistency with your organization’s purpose and brand. Gallup has found that this can be a quick process and recommends performing this audit annually.

3. Reposition your managers as coaches.

Only your best managers can implement the culture you want. A great culture is one of the few things an organization can’t buy. Managers at all levels make or break your culture change. And traditional performance management systems have struggled to inspire and develop employees, which can result in billions of dollars in lost productivity today’s employees want a coach, not a boss. Moving your managers from boss to coach not only increases employee engagement and improves performance, but it’s also essential to changing your culture.

Win the War for Teacher Talent With Performance Development

Wondering why your school district is hemorrhaging its best teachers?

Chances are, your teachers are on the hunt for career development.

In fact, 60% of teachers left their last job for reasons related to career advancement or development. Worse, only 18% of teachers strongly agree that they are motivated by their performance management practice at work. In other words, even if you have invested heavily in your development program, it’s probably not meeting teachers’ needs.

Too often, districts offer nothing more than annual, one-size-fits-all teacher evaluations. Just as problematically, tenure and certifications are the primary avenues for advancement — an approach that doesn’t reward high performance.

Teachers need more. They need principals who truly care — who never stop helping them reach their potential. They need a career pathway that celebrates and incentivizes exceptional performance. They need individualized opportunities to grow and a school culture that promotes excellence, not mediocrity.

How can district leaders meet these needs? Gallup analytics suggest that the solution lies in empowering and educating principals to coach teachers to excellence.

Insights from The New Teacher Project (TNTP) also indicate that principal development is the answer to the teacher retention crisis. TNTP is an organization that works to ensure all students get equal access to effective teaching. According to TNTP, principals are not equipped with proven retention strategies or policies that encourage them to make smart decisions about teacher development.

In turn, teachers’ needs are neglected — and they’re flocking to the nearest exit.

Why Principals Are the Difference-Maker

Just as great managers are instrumental in the engagement and performance of their employees, principals are essential to building engaged, thriving schools and creating a great teacher experience.

Gallup data prove that the more principals coach their teachers (i.e., listen, provide feedback and celebrate exceptional performance), the better those teachers perform and the more engaged they are.

Teachers need feedback. They need to develop and grow — and they want to know what value they bring to the table.

And teacher engagement quickly translates to student engagement and success. By coaching and engaging their teachers, principals can organically improve their school because teacher engagement is the critical link to student engagement — which correlates with subject-matter achievement, graduation rates and college readiness.

In other words, district leaders can encourage student success by giving principals the tools and equipment they need to excel.

What District Leaders Can Do

Consider three ways that district leaders can position principals and teachers to thrive:

  1. Hire talented principals and teachers. All employees — includ

What District Leaders Can Do
Consider three ways that district leaders can position principals and teachers to thrive:

Hire talented principals and teachers. All employees — including principals and teachers — perform better when they possess the right talents for their role.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

In fact, Gallup research found that schools that hired talented principals, based on an objective talent assessment, were 2.6 times more likely to have above-average teacher engagement.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

Offer transformative learning experiences. Before expecting principals to lead with excellence, district leaders must empower their principals with the right professional development and training.

Instructional leadership training can be helpful, but it won’t transform principals into change agents who know exactly how to revitalize their school culture.

At a minimum, principals need a clear picture of their responsibilities — from incentivizing exceptional teacher performance to creating a school culture that attracts top-talent teachers. Practical insights, strategies and solutions are just as critical, including tools for conducting meaningful conversations with teachers that inspire excellence and foster trusting relationships.

District leaders should enroll principals in leading-edge leadership courses — the kind of courses that give principals everything they need to reinvent performance management and build extraordinary school cultures that teachers love to call home.

Support principals with proven systems and processes. Broken, obsolete school policies are major barriers to any principal’s success.

For example, how can principals help teachers grow if the only option for advancement is non-teaching, administrative work?

District leaders must demolish procedural obstacles and implement proven-effective methods — like analytics-based attraction and performance development systems that meaningfully drive performance. Just as important, district leaders should hold principals accountable for measurable outcomes such as teacher engagement and retention.

  1. ing principals and teachers — perform better when they pos

What District Leaders Can Do
Consider three ways that district leaders can position principals and teachers to thrive:

Hire talented principals and teachers. All employees — including principals and teachers — perform better when they possess the right talents for their role.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

In fact, Gallup research found that schools that hired talented principals, based on an objective talent assessment, were 2.6 times more likely to have above-average teacher engagement.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

Offer transformative learning experiences. Before expecting principals to lead with excellence, district leaders must empower their principals with the right professional development and training.

Instructional leadership training can be helpful, but it won’t transform principals into change agents who know exactly how to revitalize their school culture.

At a minimum, principals need a clear picture of their responsibilities — from incentivizing exceptional teacher performance to creating a school culture that attracts top-talent teachers. Practical insights, strategies and solutions are just as critical, including tools for conducting meaningful conversations with teachers that inspire excellence and foster trusting relationships.

District leaders should enroll principals in leading-edge leadership courses — the kind of courses that give principals everything they need to reinvent performance management and build extraordinary school cultures that teachers love to call home.

Support principals with proven systems and processes. Broken, obsolete school policies are major barriers to any principal’s success.

For example, how can principals help teachers grow if the only option for advancement is non-teaching, administrative work?

District leaders must demolish procedural obstacles and implement proven-effective methods — like analytics-based attraction and performance development systems that meaningfully drive performance. Just as important, district leaders should hold principals accountable for measurable outcomes such as teacher engagement and retention.

  1. sess the right talents for their role.

    By selecting principals with the ideal talents for

What District Leaders Can Do
Consider three ways that district leaders can position principals and teachers to thrive:

Hire talented principals and teachers. All employees — including principals and teachers — perform better when they possess the right talents for their role.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

In fact, Gallup research found that schools that hired talented principals, based on an objective talent assessment, were 2.6 times more likely to have above-average teacher engagement.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

Offer transformative learning experiences. Before expecting principals to lead with excellence, district leaders must empower their principals with the right professional development and training.

Instructional leadership training can be helpful, but it won’t transform principals into change agents who know exactly how to revitalize their school culture.

At a minimum, principals need a clear picture of their responsibilities — from incentivizing exceptional teacher performance to creating a school culture that attracts top-talent teachers. Practical insights, strategies and solutions are just as critical, including tools for conducting meaningful conversations with teachers that inspire excellence and foster trusting relationships.

District leaders should enroll principals in leading-edge leadership courses — the kind of courses that give principals everything they need to reinvent performance management and build extraordinary school cultures that teachers love to call home.

Support principals with proven systems and processes. Broken, obsolete school policies are major barriers to any principal’s success.

For example, how can principals help teachers grow if the only option for advancement is non-teaching, administrative work?

District leaders must demolish procedural obstacles and implement proven-effective methods — like analytics-based attraction and performance development systems that meaningfully drive performance. Just as important, district leaders should hold principals accountable for measurable outcomes such as teacher engagement and retention.

  1. the job, district lea

What District Leaders Can Do
Consider three ways that district leaders can position principals and teachers to thrive:

Hire talented principals and teachers. All employees — including principals and teachers — perform better when they possess the right talents for their role.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

In fact, Gallup research found that schools that hired talented principals, based on an objective talent assessment, were 2.6 times more likely to have above-average teacher engagement.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

Offer transformative learning experiences. Before expecting principals to lead with excellence, district leaders must empower their principals with the right professional development and training.

Instructional leadership training can be helpful, but it won’t transform principals into change agents who know exactly how to revitalize their school culture.

At a minimum, principals need a clear picture of their responsibilities — from incentivizing exceptional teacher performance to creating a school culture that attracts top-talent teachers. Practical insights, strategies and solutions are just as critical, including tools for conducting meaningful conversations with teachers that inspire excellence and foster trusting relationships.

District leaders should enroll principals in leading-edge leadership courses — the kind of courses that give principals everything they need to reinvent performance management and build extraordinary school cultures that teachers love to call home.

Support principals with proven systems and processes. Broken, obsolete school policies are major barriers to any principal’s success.

For example, how can principals help teachers grow if the only option for advancement is non-teaching, administrative work?

District leaders must demolish procedural obstacles and implement proven-effective methods — like analytics-based attraction and performance development systems that meaningfully drive performance. Just as important, district leaders should hold principals accountable for measurable outcomes such as teacher engagement and retention.

What District Leaders Can Do
Consider three ways that district leaders can position principals and teachers to thrive:

Hire talented principals and teachers. All employees — including principals and teachers — perform better when they possess the right talents for their role.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

In fact, Gallup research found that schools that hired talented principals, based on an objective talent assessment, were 2.6 times more likely to have above-average teacher engagement.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

Offer transformative learning experiences. Before expecting principals to lead with excellence, district leaders must empower their principals with the right professional development and training.

Instructional leadership training can be helpful, but it won’t transform principals into change agents who know exactly how to revitalize their school culture.

At a minimum, principals need a clear picture of their responsibilities — from incentivizing exceptional teacher performance to creating a school culture that attracts top-talent teachers. Practical insights, strategies and solutions are just as critical, including tools for conducting meaningful conversations with teachers that inspire excellence and foster trusting relationships.

District leaders should enroll principals in leading-edge leadership courses — the kind of courses that give principals everything they need to reinvent performance management and build extraordinary school cultures that teachers love to call home.

Support principals with proven systems and processes. Broken, obsolete school policies are major barriers to any principal’s success.

For example, how can principals help teachers grow if the only option for advancement is non-teaching, administrative work?

District leaders must demolish procedural obstacles and implement proven-effective methods — like analytics-based attraction and performance development systems that meaningfully drive performance. Just as important, district leaders should hold principals accountable for measurable outcomes such as teacher engagement and retention.

  1. ders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximize

What District Leaders Can Do
Consider three ways that district leaders can position principals and teachers to thrive:

Hire talented principals and teachers. All employees — including principals and teachers — perform better when they possess the right talents for their role.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

In fact, Gallup research found that schools that hired talented principals, based on an objective talent assessment, were 2.6 times more likely to have above-average teacher engagement.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

Offer transformative learning experiences. Before expecting principals to lead with excellence, district leaders must empower their principals with the right professional development and training.

Instructional leadership training can be helpful, but it won’t transform principals into change agents who know exactly how to revitalize their school culture.

At a minimum, principals need a clear picture of their responsibilities — from incentivizing exceptional teacher performance to creating a school culture that attracts top-talent teachers. Practical insights, strategies and solutions are just as critical, including tools for conducting meaningful conversations with teachers that inspire excellence and foster trusting relationships.

District leaders should enroll principals in leading-edge leadership courses — the kind of courses that give principals everything they need to reinvent performance management and build extraordinary school cultures that teachers love to call home.

Support principals with proven systems and processes. Broken, obsolete school policies are major barriers to any principal’s success.

For example, how can principals help teachers grow if the only option for advancement is non-teaching, administrative work?

District leaders must demolish procedural obstacles and implement proven-effective methods — like analytics-based attraction and performance development systems that meaningfully drive performance. Just as important, district leaders should hold principals accountable for measurable outcomes such as teacher engagement and retention.

  1. s teacher success.

    In fact, Gallup research found that schools that hired talented principals, based on an

What District Leaders Can Do
Consider three ways that district leaders can position principals and teachers to thrive:

Hire talented principals and teachers. All employees — including principals and teachers — perform better when they possess the right talents for their role.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

In fact, Gallup research found that schools that hired talented principals, based on an objective talent assessment, were 2.6 times more likely to have above-average teacher engagement.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

Offer transformative learning experiences. Before expecting principals to lead with excellence, district leaders must empower their principals with the right professional development and training.

Instructional leadership training can be helpful, but it won’t transform principals into change agents who know exactly how to revitalize their school culture.

At a minimum, principals need a clear picture of their responsibilities — from incentivizing exceptional teacher performance to creating a school culture that attracts top-talent teachers. Practical insights, strategies and solutions are just as critical, including tools for conducting meaningful conversations with teachers that inspire excellence and foster trusting relationships.

District leaders should enroll principals in leading-edge leadership courses — the kind of courses that give principals everything they need to reinvent performance management and build extraordinary school cultures that teachers love to call home.

Support principals with proven systems and processes. Broken, obsolete school policies are major barriers to any principal’s success.

For example, how can principals help teachers grow if the only option for advancement is non-teaching, administrative work?

District leaders must demolish procedural obstacles and implement proven-effective methods — like analytics-based attraction and performance development systems that meaningfully drive performance. Just as important, district leaders should hold principals accountable for measurable outcomes such as teacher engagement and retention.

  1. objective talent assessment,

What District Leaders Can Do
Consider three ways that district leaders can position principals and teachers to thrive:

Hire talented principals and teachers. All employees — including principals and teachers — perform better when they possess the right talents for their role.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

In fact, Gallup research found that schools that hired talented principals, based on an objective talent assessment, were 2.6 times more likely to have above-average teacher engagement.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

Offer transformative learning experiences. Before expecting principals to lead with excellence, district leaders must empower their principals with the right professional development and training.

Instructional leadership training can be helpful, but it won’t transform principals into change agents who know exactly how to revitalize their school culture.

At a minimum, principals need a clear picture of their responsibilities — from incentivizing exceptional teacher performance to creating a school culture that attracts top-talent teachers. Practical insights, strategies and solutions are just as critical, including tools for conducting meaningful conversations with teachers that inspire excellence and foster trusting relationships.

District leaders should enroll principals in leading-edge leadership courses — the kind of courses that give principals everything they need to reinvent performance management and build extraordinary school cultures that teachers love to call home.

Support principals with proven systems and processes. Broken, obsolete school policies are major barriers to any principal’s success.

For example, how can principals help teachers grow if the only option for advancement is non-teaching, administrative work?

District leaders must demolish procedural obstacles and implement proven-effective methods — like analytics-based attraction and performance development systems that meaningfully drive performance. Just as important, district leaders should hold principals accountable for measurable outcomes such as teacher engagement and retention

What District Leaders Can Do
Consider three ways that district leaders can position principals and teachers to thrive:

Hire talented principals and teachers. All employees — including principals and teachers — perform better when they possess the right talents for their role.

By selecting principals with the ideal talents for the job, district leaders lay the foundation for a school culture that maximizes teacher success.

In fact, Gallup research found that schools that hired talented principals, based on an objective talent assessment, were 2.6 times more likely to have above-average teacher engagement

  1. Offer transformative learning experiences. 

Offer transformative learning experiences. Before expecting principals to lead with excellence, district leaders must empower their principals with the right professional development and training.

Instructional leadership training can be helpful, but it won’t transform principals into change agents who know exactly how to revitalize their school culture.

At a minimum, principals need a clear picture of their responsibilities — from incentivizing exceptional teacher performance to creating a school culture that attracts top-talent teachers. Practical insights, strategies and solutions are just as critical, including tools for conducting meaningful conversations with teachers that inspire excellence and foster trusting relationships.

District leaders should enroll principals in leading-edge leadership courses — the kind of courses that give principals everything they need to reinvent performance management and build extraordinary school cultures that teachers love to call home.

Support principals with proven systems and processes. Broken, obsolete school policies are major barriers to any principal’s success.

For example, how can principals help teachers grow if the only option for advancement is non-teaching, administrative work?

District leaders must demolish procedural obstacles and implement proven-effective methods — like analytics-based attraction and performance development systems that meaningfully drive performance. Just as important, district leaders should hold principals accountable for measurable outcomes such as teacher engagement and retention