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3 Key Principles Strong Leaders Follow

Great results don’t just happen overnight. Whether you teach twenty-five students in a classroom, or if you are in charge of hundreds of people on a team, there has to be preparation and mentorship along the way in order to be the best you can be.  Great leaders are developed in much the same way.


We can all think of those few people in our lives that we would consider to be a true, stand out leader in whatever they do.  Natural charisma, magnetic charm, and a positive attitude may be three elements of the person you are thinking of, however these are not the most important aspects of a great leader.

The ones who stand out take action daily and live by certain principles. 

3 Key Principles Strong Leaders Follow

1. The Company You Keep Is Crucial

Think of someone you consider to be a great leader.  That person, whoever it may be, has most likely surrounded themselves with people who will make them better.  They understand that their daily influences form them into who they become. They have learned over time that they are simply the “Sum” of the FIVE people they surround themselves with most, so they have chosen their “inner circle” wisely.

How Teachers Can Apply This Principle

Take a look around at your professional influences, the people you surround yourself with each day.  When you are in the faculty room, are they gossiping and bringing others down, or are they lifting people up?  When you are looking to collaborate, do they inspire you and motivate you to be better, or are they watching the clock, counting the minutes until they can leave?

Today, re-evaluate the 5 people you surround yourself with most professionally.  Determine whether they are moving you forward or holding you back.  You don’t have to end friendships of course, but narrow down your “professional” inner circle to find the people who influence you to improve. Write down those 5 people and make it a point to reach out and work together often. Try to set one day a week, if possible, to grab coffee and brainstorm together. It will pay off dividends in the future and will help you continue to grow!

2. Motivation is a Choice

Strong leaders are motivated every day to make a difference and lead well.  The secret they have learned however is that inner motivation is a choice. Excitement and passion come easy when everything is going well, however it is a different story when the storms begin to roll in.  It is during these difficult times that true leaders choose to remain motivated and committed to the goals they set out to achieve.

How Teachers Can Apply This Principle

Think about that little voice in your head (it may be speaking to as you read this) that tells you it is virtually impossible to be motivated every single day to teach with passion.  It convinces you that some days are just boring, routine days at work.  In reality, this voice is simply the excuse we tell ourselves that make us doubt our true potential and purpose.

Today, take 5 post-it notes and write down one thing on each that excites you about teaching. Write down one reason WHY you do what you do on each note.  Each morning this week, before you look at your phone, take a shower, or eat breakfast, simply read one note to remind you and help you CHOOSE to be motivated today.  Then on the weekend… REST and do it all over again next week! 

3. “Perfectionist Thinking” Halts Progress

A perfectionist is someone who cannot move forward until whatever they choose to accomplish is flawless.  If something goes wrong along the way, they often find themselves stopping and starting all over again from the start. There is a big difference between excellence and perfection.  Those that are excellent will move forward and learn from the flaws they find in the journey. Great leaders understand that embracing the “flaws”  along the way result in excellence.

How Teachers Can Apply This Principle

When was the last time you had the “perfect” lesson?  You know, the one where nothing went wrong and every single student understood the concept you were teaching on the first try.  Not one student had a question and they all hung on your every word. If you are thinking of a time when this actually happened, then I applaud you! I personally cannot recall a time in all of my years of teaching that I ever had a flawless, “perfect” lesson.  The fact is, this lesson comes once in a blue moon, if at all, for most of us.

Next time you find that students are not grasping a concept right away, or a lesson has not gone as planned, DON’T fall back into the “perfectionist” mindset and just start from scratch.  Instead reflect and take note on what DID work and improve from there. I would recommend having a “reflection journal” and after school each day create an entry.  Literally take 5-10 minutes and remember your day before you leave to go home. This will cause you to get into the habit of evaluating yourself as a teacher and will help learn from the “flaws” we often forget over time.

Question: What are some other principles that great leaders follow and HOW can teachers apply them?  Leave a comment by CLICKING HERE

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