It’s that time of year…the time of postings and of opportunities. I love when people reach out and ask for my perspective on how to handle certain job interviews or whether or not take a risk in a new position. Branching out can be a scary thing but it can also lead to some of the best professional growth around! Having a mentor, someone you can call to help you process at this time of year, or actually, any time of year is one of the easiest, most helpful things an administrator can do.
I had a call this afternoon with a young lady who is about to interview for her first principal position. Her first step, in reaching out, already says so much. Seeking out someone, whether as a formal or informal mentor, says a certain thing about her. She is willing to hear feedback, to ask questions. Rather than think she is all-knowing and all qualified, she is wanting to see what other perspectives she should be thinking about. Do you have a mentor? A mentor isn’t someone you meet with on a weekly basis…or have a set, rigid schedule with, that’s a therapist. A mentor is someone who sees value in you and what you to offer. They are willing to help you get to the next step on your ladder. These relationships are crucial, especially to those in leadership because there is no substitute for having “been” there. Someone who has walked the path before you can help you avoid certain pitfalls, or help you see that those pitfalls aren’t the end of the road. If you’ve done this for ten years or for two, there is value in having conversations about what we do. It solidifies what you believe in, and reinforces what kind of leader you want to be.
Some other things to keep in mind, if you’re on the interviewing path:
- Experiences speak. Personalize examples from your world when asked a question.
- Be prepared. Know who you are talking to and if at all possible, what matters to them. I take the time every time to respond to an email about a position, using their name, and wishing them luck. Even when they haven’t actually looked into knowing who I am, or what my Wolf world is about.
- Recognize that you won’t know it all, and aren’t expected to. One of the main things I’ve learned is that is way more important to be WILLING to learn, than the appearance of that you’ve learned it all.
- Team player. Be a team player. There is an MVP, but that person couldn’t have gotten there without their TEAM. (Side eye, Tom Brady.)
- Be yourself. If they don’t want the real YOU, then you don’t want them. I am so incredibly thankful for a district that allows me to be me. I haven been given many snippets of advice in my 15 years and some of what stands out the most was the critical feedback given about things that fundamentally made me, me. I can’t imagine the difficulties of leadership while also trying to be someone different, how exhausting!
Remember at the end of the day, what we do is more than a job. It’s a passion, it’s an obsession…especially to those who are great. Or want to be great. Great is not at every door, or to be found within every interview. Recognizing that you want to be better, and that even opportunities that don’t go your way, can still be considered a learning experience will help you get that much close to your version of great.
Going for great,