8 Things I've Learned by Leading a High School

2059201321_18c0cb410f_mIn July, I began a new role as the President of a nearby Catholic high school.  After a decade of various roles in parish and school ministry, it was time to step up and see if all of my preparation for leadership would pay off.

I think that Emerson was right when he said, "Each man has his own vocation; his talent is his call. There is one direction in which all space is open to him." Each day feels very full and it's hard to put it all into one post but I'll do my best:

  • Manage your email and voicemail: I'm cool with the former but don't really think of myself as a big phone person.  Phone work is a discipline that I've had to work at.

  • Meet on purpose: I enjoy meetings if they have a purpose and if the accomplish forward motion.  Surprisingly, I spend many hours each day in meetings.  Just today, I met with a strategic planner, a fund raiser, my admin team and with several students.  It's an interesting combination of fellowship and work, rolled into a full meeting schedule.  We try to pray before major meetings as a way of staying focused on God's work.

  • Practice small government: Not a micromanager, I've found that people work best when you trust them to do their jobs.  So far so good in this regard.

  • Stay healthy: I'm tempted every day to skip meals, not drink enough water and just keep pushing through my schedule.  Believe it or not, it takes work to stay balanced and healthy.  This has been surprising and it's an area that I know I'll have to be focusing on in coming months.  I'm thinking of taking a Karate class as a way of letting off some steam.

  • Stretch the hours: I've always enjoyed work so a few more hours each day is no big deal.  An 11 or 12 hour day is fairly common but I don't mind this slight adjustment.

  • Practice gratitude: I feel blessed in life so it's wonderful to thank those around me for the small (and large) things they do each day.

  • Remember that even a school is a business: each day reminds me that our work in a school is grounded in its dual-function as a business. Neglect one and the other falls apart.

  • Play: it's fun to enjoy the company of those with whom you work.  At school, we encourage folks to have fun and be upbeat in our interactions with students.

So far so good.  I'm wondering if you've had a job change in the past year and what you learned from that transition?  For a backstage pass to my daily schedule, check me out on Twitter, @thedailysaint

*photo by strangelibrarian