It’s no secret: education is a cornerstone of a successful society. And at the heart of education are its leaders. Leaders are found at every level of education in the United States, from the preschool classroom to the superintendent’s office. Ensuring these leaders can make the greatest impact starts with ensuring that they are trained and have a strong sense of self—that is, they know their innate skills and style.
This is why for nearly two decades I’ve partnered with districts that provide professional development programs for aspiring leaders. These programs are designed to fill a pipeline of leaders at the building level. A few noteworthy districts in Georgia participating in programs like this include:
- Washington County Schools
- Douglas County Schools
- Newton County Schools
- Houston County Schools
- Colquitt County Schools
For those pursuing the leadership path, a major benefit of this program is the ability to glean a realistic view of what each job entails and whether it is a good fit.
Leaders at every level
Every teacher is a leader, but not every teacher aspires to the next level of leadership in education. Not every teacher wants to become an assistant principal. Not every assistant principal aspires to become a principal. For some, being leaders in their classrooms is satisfaction enough—and that’s great! These educators play a crucial role in public schools across the country.
For those who are interested in carving a path in leadership in education, a resource such as the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) is an invaluable tool for mapping the trajectory of a fulfilling career.
Professional development programs for aspiring education leaders
As mentioned above, many public education systems boast in-house programs designed to develop an internal pipeline of building-level administrators. These programs typically last one year and target aspiring leaders at every level. To bolster these programs, I offer a professional development module that uses the HAB to help leaders discover their natural strengths. This module is intended to help educators focus on self-awareness, discover the concept of working intentionally, and develop an ability to work with and appreciate differences in talent. When empowered with this information, leaders in education are set up to be most effective and to experience greater career success.
Discover your strengths: HAB for leaders in education
Perhaps you are among the leaders who wish to move beyond the walls of a school, to make a difference at the central office as a department head or even as a superintendent. Knowing your natural abilities, talents, shortcomings, style, and values is key to determining whether this high-level leadership is a best-fit career path for you. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t, but having an educated basis for this decision making can help set the course for professional fulfillment.
The professional development module, using the HAB, provides leaders with invaluable insights. Why does this matter? It is important because:
- Leaders cannot do all the work themselves;
- Every leader leads differently and must understand there is no single way to carry out a job; and
- Leaders are stretched thin and must be intentional with how they prioritize their time; they must know when to tackle a responsibility themselves and when to delegate (and to whom).
Learning about innate strengths and talents is a boon to forging one’s career path, but it also helps leaders to recognize and tap into the strengths and talents of those whom they lead.
Beyond the school building
At the highest level of leadership in public education are the superintendents. For more than two decades I’ve worked with the Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA) to help these high-level leaders get crystal-clear about their natural abilities and talents so they may be most impactful in their districts. This module, which pairs a HAB assessment with a two-day Authentic Leadership Workshop, has seen great success and has expanded to target support-level leaders as well. For the past twelve years I’ve also worked with principals and other central office administrators who support the work of the superintendent.
Follow the leader
Public education is only as effective as its leaders. Imagine a public education system in which leaders are self-aware, not just of their own strengths but also of the best-fit roles in which they can be most impactful. The implications of this are profound. The HAB assessment is the gateway to this self-awareness. How could HAB results guide your career decision making? Learn more about this objective assessment today.
Dr. Stiles, Industrial/Organizational Psychologist is the Director of Training and Research for the Highlands Company and founder of Turning Points Coaching and Consulting.
“My 30 years of experience of serving both individual career professionals and organizations includes 20 years with UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the Terry Business School’s Institute for Leadership Development, the Georgia School Superintendents Association, and private businesses such as IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Manheim Automotive and Kaiser Permanente.”
This article was originally published at Turningpointsconsulting.com.
A Different Approach to Professional Development
The HAB-Leader experience is for growing the formal responsibilities of leaders of organizations, divisions, departments or teams, and for individuals pursuing their own personal leadership.