When interviewing parents, faculty & staff, and Boards during the Head search process, I always ask “what qualities are you looking for in your next Head of School?” One of the top answers is consistently some version of: “a visionary leader.” (Another top response is: “a sense of humor”- more on that later!). When ask what a visionary leader looks and sounds like, I hear that people want the Head of their small school to be able to describe the future of the school and what it will be like to be a part of the community into the future. Yet many of the Heads of small schools with whom I communicate struggle to be able to focus on vision; they are so busy managing what flies at them day to day. How can Heads become more visionary?
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to becoming “visionary,” here are some steps that have worked for me and for many of my colleagues.
When leaders of small schools are able to articulate a clear, achievable, and meaningful vision that is aligned with the school’s mission and strategic goals, they convey confidence in, and control over, the direction and future of the school. This, in turn, results in a sense of trust and hope within their community. Parents, faculty & staff, and Board members want to know that the Head of their school is leading them in the “right” direction. Articulating and working towards a strong vision will let them know you've got this.