How do you decide what to spend your time on as a leader?

Sure, some things are required, and can't be delegated—perhaps your teacher evaluations.

But you could delegate almost anything else.

How do you decide whether to:

  • Attend school sports events (and which ones)?
  • Supervise in the hallways?
  • Greet parents at drop-off/pickup?
  • Monitor the cafeteria or recess?
  • Visit teachers' team meetings?
  • Review attendance records?

You can't do it all. You've got to delegate some work…and it needs to be the right work.

Here are 4 suggestions for how you might decide what NOT to delegate, and instead to keep doing yourself.

1. Does it build relationships?

This is the redeeming value in any work that's below your pay grade.

Wiping tables in the cafeteria? Not a good use of time from an economic standpoint, but it can be a great way to connect with students.

2. Does it build efficacy?

Sometimes we engage in work that others could do, because we want to help them develop confidence, skills, and self-efficacy.

For example, when principals teach model lessons—it's not because the principal is necessarily the best teacher.

It's because when leaders go first, it's hard not to follow.

3. Does it build systems?

We may need to devote time to a particular issue because a good system isn't yet in place.

The best way to learn what kind of system needs to be in place…is to do the work yourself for a while, so you can build the right system.

4. Does it provide key information?

Why do instructional leaders belong in classrooms?

We could provide feedback, or coach teachers, or collect data…but I think the best reason is to simply pay attention. To learn.

There's no substitute for being where the work is being done—in classrooms—because that's the only way to become truly informed.

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