The First Five Things Leaders Should Do

Take time to develop leaders in your school

Welcome to another epic year. I figured it out, and I want you to figure it out, too. Happy people outperform unhappy people. How do I get to that happy place? Climate and culture have a profound impact on student and teacher performance. Leadership has a profound impact on climate and culture. An essential component of your repertoire will be to create as many leaders as possible.

Get rid of that follower model. Flip the pyramid to give opportunities for the nontraditional leaders. Leadership has been moving along a different paradigm for decades. So why are some people still using the old model? We need more ideas from the heretics, outliers, and disruptors. Bring them on board. Allow them to look in the mirror differently. Let them bring people to the table that you do not even know exist.

  1. Raise the Bar
    Expect a lot from yourself or no one else will.
    When people challenge themselves, their high expectations are contagious. No matter what your age, the learning process is endless and still occurs through events, people, research, and fun. An integral part of “raising the bar” includes learning from your failures and using that knowledge the next time.
  2. Set Goals
    Your life is calling. How are you going to answer?
    It works. You might think goal setting is common sense, but most people do not do it. Do you write down your goals? Now that you have your goals, you need a plan for the day, week, month, and year.
  3. Never Ask Anyone to Do Something You Would Not Do
    Positive culture is synonymous with positive leadership.
    Some people have positional power, and they are great at designating everything. Those people hoard the power. A high-ranking position does not make you a leader; it makes you a person in a high-ranking position. There’s enough leadership for everyone.
  4. Lead by Example
    Walk the talk or don’t talk at all.
    Always demonstrate the behavior you want the people around you to emulate. In other words, lead by example. Walk the talk, and be that person others want around. Keep self-communicating that concept.
  5. Create a Team
    If people are not connected to your organization, they’ll be connected to something else.
    When you put together a team for any organization, you must consider the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals that collectively make up your squad. Strengths eliminate weaknesses and create cohesion where accomplishments and problem-solving are achieved daily and on a high plane. These differences must be appreciated and welcomed.


By creating more leaders, your leadership ability increases exponentially. Everyone deserves opportunities for leadership. Bring in those nontraditional leaders in order to throw out the follower model. Some people do not see themselves as leaders. Change their perception.

I hope this is your best school year ever. Make it happen! Climate and culture begin with your attitude. Leadership begins with a choice. Be epic not ordinary!

This article was adapted from the book 50 Great Things Leaders Do: Let’s Get Fired Up! 2nd Edition.

Dr. Rudnesky is presenting at #AMLE19 this November in Nashville. Check it out!