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This month’s theme of “Getting Your Grit On” is based on a study published by Angela Duckworth as she researched success in relation to intelligence. She reported the ability to work strenuously on challenges was a better predictor of success than IQ, grades, or natural talent. She captured this attribute in the term “grit.” “GRIT” can also be used as an acronym to represent four essential attributes for success as a school administrator.

Goodness: Successful administrators have an inherent goodness. They demonstrate compassion to all they encounter. It’s critical you be an active listener to anyone you encounter, regardless of his or her status or role. Even when you must deny a request, you should do so compassionately and respectfully. People better accept denial when treated with respect than if the response is rude and discourteous. Remember to “state the best, think the rest.”

Goodness also extends to conversations concerning individuals you have encountered. To appear genuine while in the presence of someone and then speak poorly to others about that person leads to mistrust not only with regard to the focus of your remarks, but also the person to whom you are speaking.

Resiliency: Successful administrators have a unique ability to bounce back after experiencing a variety of issues. You need to find strategies that help you think clearly while under duress as well as methods to recover and rejuvenate yourself. An inability to be resilient will lead to ineffectiveness as well as stress-related physical complications. It’s critical to find a confidant in whom you trust to share reactions to dilemmas you face. In many cases, this may be a spouse or loved one, yet it’s also important to find a professional colleague who can assist you in sorting through options. You need to be able to rely on this person to be honest with you.

Integrity: It can be risky to stand up for what you believe when you are facing the winds of adversity. This becomes more challenging depending on the level of influence creating the adversity. Board members with whom you are in opposition may use their influence to threaten your position. Staff members or parents who have influence in the community may also cause you to question your position. In times like these, it is critical to reflect on your values. In the end, you need to decide whether your belief is so strong that you are willing to risk your job.

Tenacity: The heart of grit is tenacity because it requires having the determination to continue to push forward even when faced with opposition. Tenacity also is the ability to face failure and bounce back with an improved design or focus on a problem. Tenacity is the fiber that separates mediocre administrators from superior administrators.

Administrators who have a balance of goodness, resiliency, integrity, and tenacity will find success in improving educational opportunities in their communities. At the end of their career, they will also reflect on and be proud of their contributions to children.


(Article taken from Galileo for Superintendents. To learn more about this publication, please visit: www.masterteacher.com/Publications/Publication-for-Superintendents)

Thought for the Week

Simply pulling a strategy “off the shelf” or defaulting to the most recently read article or staff development session topic may not generate the results we seek.

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