George Lucas Educational Foundation
Administration & Leadership

How To Lead Like a Rock Star

March 22, 2017 Updated March 20, 2017

March is a notoriously busy time in most schools around the world for teachers and school leaders. In many schools it’s almost the end of a very long term. I’ve heard stories from colleagues over the past week about how they have faced several challenges and frustrations. I bet you’ve had your fair share too. 

Not sure if you know but I’m starting a new school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from scratch. 

Yep that’s right! I started last November with no students, no teachers, no chairs, no tables, no books, no pencils, no laptops or desktops and I could go on and on.

I knew that it could be really, really frustrating or it could be a whole lot of fun and really, really rewarding! So I made a decision to make it a whole lot of fun and really, really rewarding.

Well ….. I’ve just had a couple of really tough weeks! Tough but AMAZING!

You see, I believe in leading like a Rock Star! 

Yes, like you, I’m tired. Yes, I’ve had a whole lot of problems and yes, I’ve had to be agile, adaptive and innovative but I’m doing something that is so special it’s just like going out on stage and singing a hit song every day to thousands of people.

Here are some strategies that get me through. Maybe they might help you or reassure you that you’re on the right track so that you can lead like a Rock Star!

  1. Know that the bottom line in any school is your students. Make decisions based on what’s best for student learning, student safety and student well-being.
  2. Focus. Know your top priorities for the year, the term and each week. Focus on your highest priorities first thing every day. 
  3. Take care of yourself. You can’t lead anyone if you can’t lead yourself.
  4. Look for beauty, wonderment and awe everyday. Not only does this help you through tough times it boosts your ability to think creatively and to innovate.
  5. When a difficult situation or difficult person comes along use strategies like breathing deeply or count to 10 to give you think time before you respond. 
  6. Refuse to argue or become defensive. Ask for and show a genuine interest in the difficult person’s ideas regarding how to improve the situation. You never know, it might be an innovation waiting to happen!
  7. Do the things that elevate you like listening to music, reading inspirational books, going for walks, runs, swims and choose to be with positive, proactive people.
  8. Clear out all toxic thoughts, they waste your time and damage your soul.
  9. Always celebrate your short-term wins. Champagne works wonders.
  10. Remember, it’s through your most challenging times that you learn the most about yourself and reach your personal best…. over and over again.

So now go and sing your lungs out and lead like a Rock Star. Our schools and 21st century learners need you.

Maxine Driscoll, Founding Head of School, Australian International School Phnom Penh, Cambodia

This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.

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