A good leader will always be a servant leader. That’s a belief that I was raised with and one I’ve tried, sometimes unsuccessfully, to live out.
As a campus leader now I try to continually find ways to show my staff that I appreciate them and that I can serve them as well. From covering classes and recess, to morning/lunch/afternoon duty, to helping write lessons, and so on.
But one thing I’ve learned is that even the things we deem as insignificant can speak volumes. I remember working at a school underneath several different administrators. I remember parking my car (or leaving the lot) daily. You know us teachers, we always have to have the same spot, and God forbid if someone takes “our spot” haha. But for some reason I always noticed where the administration parked.
One year I saw my administrator park at the back of the parking lot, even though there was a designated spot up front for her. I asked her one day why and I will always remember what she said.
She told me, “Why should I get a special spot up front? There are people who work just as hard as me, if not harder, so why should I think I’m above them enough that I should be allowed to park in a front spot every day. A leader needs to be a servant and so I choose to park in the back”
As a campus admin myself now, I’ve taken that same philosophy.
Every day, I park in the back row. I give up any front spots. Does anyone notice? Maybe not, but that’s not why I do it. I do it to remind myself that I am not above anyone else on that campus. The buck may stop with me, and I may have to make the tough decisions, but I have a team of equally hardworking people, so why should I for a second think that I’m better than them?
Now for those principals who do have a “special” up front parking spot, I’m not telling you you’re doing it wrong. I’m not saying you’re not a good leader. What I’m saying is, that this idea never crossed my mind before I saw my own leader do it and I asked why. What she said made sense, and it forever changed the way I look at where I park as a campus leader.