As an administrator, we all want what is best for our campus and for our district. Part of that is deciding what type of administrator we want to be and what type of culture we want to promote. Asking ourselves some challenging questions and honestly taking an assessment of our actions can be a rough process, but it has to be done to answer one question: Are you a manager or a leader?
An administrator manages the day to day of a campus/district while a leader envisions what could be and sets a path to achieve it. A manager ensures that his/her people have the skills and resources they need to finish a goal while a leader ensures that his/her people have the skills and resources they need to grow and achieve more. Every situation needs leaders and managers. A problem comes when there is no leader in an administration. One important role of a leader is creating a culture of a growth mindset.
First, let’s define a growth mindset. In layman’s terms, a growth mindset is a thought process that believes talent can be fostered and grown versus believing that talent is an innate gift. People with a growth mindset believe that through success and failure, learning can take place. They also believe that learning and effort lead to high achievement and success. People with a growth mindset are not devastated by failure but see it as yet another opportunity for growth.
To develop a growth mindset in your staff, you must first model your own growth mindset by showing that you, as a leader, are always self-reflecting, by asking your staff for consistent feedback and by seeking growth opportunities to hone your skills. Then, start to build the growth of your staff by giving them time go to conferences, workshops, observe other teachers, collaborate, and anything else they can do to hone their skills and learn new ones. It is also crucial to have your campus/district be a safe space for creativity and innovativeness.
Your staff must feel safe and comfortable sharing their knowledge and trying out new processes and innovative ideas to evaluate if they work. Teaching them that it is OK to fail and how to view failure as a learning opportunity is important. You do this through building a relationship with your staff that consists of constructive actionable feedback that shows the educator what was done well, what can be improved upon and gives them actionable steps that they can do to better the lesson/situation. This shows them that they can try different techniques and learn from them better the outcome for their students. This will also have the extended effect of your teachers modeling a growth mindset to your students.
Throughout their change to a growth mindset, you must teach your staff to find learning opportunities that fit their goals to help their students and how to reflect on their own learning to understand their learning styles and how they best grow in their profession. Having a growth mindset yourself, modeling the growth mindset, showing your staff how to accomplish changing to a growth mindset, and fostering an environment that thrives on growth and learning are all actionable steps administrators can take to ensure that their campus/district will never stop growing!
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