Spend Time Reflecting

As a Christian school principal, senior leader, or board chair, it is easy to become over scheduled. Since that seems to be a way of life for most senior leaders, it can seem like the norm. The norm can be unhealthy and risky. It is unhealthy for more reasons than it corrupts your work-life balance.

Leadership is more than going from meeting to meeting. That is what managers do. Leaders take time to reflect on critical issues, study emerging trends to adjust processes and strategies accordingly, engage in education and professional development, strategize, and seek diverse options. In addition, part of being leader is to prepare for the next crisis.

No one knows when the next crisis will occur or what it will look like. However, it will take time to respond to it. If you are fully booked, it means you will react to the crisis rather than respond or you will neglect some of your normal duties in an effort to find time to respond.

If you have time for reflection built into your schedule, you have the shock absorber you need. Perhaps you were going to use today’s reflection time to think about the additional attributes the board will need to deal with next year’s challenges. Redirecting the reflection time to develop a strategy for dealing with an unexpected loss in funding because of the death of a major donor is easy. It allows you to emerge from your office after learning about the crisis with the skeleton of a new funding strategy in hand. The result is a response to the crisis rather than a reaction. During the quiet reflection you can devise a way to increase sustainability and create a competitive advantage from something that could have been a setback. Keeping your schedule intact helps to build everyone’s confidence that things are under control.

You should expect one significant crisis each year. How well prepared you are for the crisis determines if the next one will be a career-enhancing event. No one can handle a crisis flawlessly. Those who take time to reflect have the best chances of having the crises enhance their careers. In addition, they are likely to experience less stress and a better work-life balance during the crises.

Next Step:

Ensure that you spend at least 5 hours per week in reflection

Set specific goals and priorities for your reflection time

Use every crisis to increase sustainability, create a competitive advantage, and enhance your career

In addition to leaving room for a crisis, you must have a crisis team at your disposal. Use some of your reflection time to identify various individuals (internally and externally) you can call on when a crisis arises. Since crises are unpredictable, think broadly about your team’s strengths and skills gaps as well as your own. Have the talent on standby so that you can call on them as needed during a crisis. During the good times, call on various crisis resources for advice and assistance. It will provide you with a understanding of the limitations of your crisis team. Being able to smoothly respond to a crisis will provide your stakeholders with confidence and make it easier for you to gather support when needed.

Take It Further:

Ensure all of your key individuals and senior leaders are preparing the same way you are (your school is only as strong as your weakest team member)



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