Leadership Non-Negotiables…Yes, you have them.


"Know the rules" handwritten with white chalk on a blackboard

Every leader has them…or at least should. Maybe they aren’t obvious, but they’re there, trust me.

Sooner or later the passions emerge and those you lead will understand your non-negotiables.

I think it’s best to be thoughtful and intentional, and communicate them up front so everyone knows, and no one is surprised.

Here are a few of my non-negotiables as I lead;

1. I won’t tolerate teachers committing malpractice with their students. I believe nearly all teachers really care about the students they serve and exercise prudent judgement as they teach. I have zero tolerance though, for those who establish a pattern of malpractice in their classrooms.

2. Check your emotions at the door, at least the outward manifestation of them. While I admire a people who demonstrate passion for their position, don’t raise your voice in anger, curse, or scream at me…and I will avoid the same. The moment I raise my voice, you lose all respect for what I have to say.

3. Be on time.

4. Be prepared to review rules, procedures, and systems that haven’t changed over time, despite the changing contexts of our work and the people involved.

5. People in the organization are more important than rigid rules, procedures, and systems. Sometimes, exceptions can and must be made.

6. While it’s a nice concept, the world isn’t fair, and all things aren’t equitable.

7. Communicate frequently…so we avoid surprises.

8. Questions always proceed emotions, reponses, and actions.

9. Decisions need to be based on the best available data at the time.

10. We will not participate in anything that can be perceived as unethical, immoral, or criminal.

Do you have non-negotiables in your leadership approach?

Have you rehearsed or reviewed them lately?

What are the consequences for violating your non-negotiables?


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