Kevin Rolle has worked for many years at the top of his game in business management. He is now Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Alabama A&M University
The basics of being a great principal at an education establishment follow a set pattern regardless of the level of education. As the principal you will have the ultimate say and will hold the responsibility in every aspect of your school, college or university. It will be difficult for you to be seen, or to have an open-door policy where you encourage people to just pop in, but this is exactly what you must do to succeed. Speak to your staff from cleaners to the top; get to know people’s names.
Be approachable and friendly; you will set the tone and attitude of your workforce and its learners.
The best type of leadership is leadership from the top. People will be happy if they feel you are kind and approachable and it will encourage them to behave in the same way.
Many academic establishments will have quotes and mantras that they expect all of those working or studying to follow. The importance of these is tantamount to success. It means that everyone can quickly and easily know what is expected. Tutors can use this to encourage students; Heads of department can use it to encourage their students.
You will be faced with daily issues and crises, know when you need to be involved, know when it can wait and know when you can delegate to your highly trusted team. This leads us nicely to the next thing you will require, and this is a smart, proactive team who know what you expect of them and how they can deliver it. Like all successful teams you have to make sure that your team is right for you and that they are all adding value in line with your mantra and beliefs. If you have inherited members of staff that aren’t stepping in line, then they can be trained.
It is never going to be a simple role; you are never going to have a quiet day.
You will have meetings with various heads of academic departments who may have their own concerns. Every one of your twenty schools may have issues. Unfortunately, there will also be an element of business and finance, so you will need to meet with your finance department and sometimes there will be issues there. If recruitment is down, you might not be making enough money and cuts may be required. This is a lengthy, unsettling process that will need to be extremely well thought out and managed, not a job that anyone relishes having to do.
You will also have to make sure that you are following all the rules of compliance and examinations and you will also be the head and the chief person responsible if there is child protection or safeguarding issue. It is of the utmost importance that all of the correct compliance is put into place for this horrible phenomenon. It would be horrific if your establishment had one incident that would tarnish its good name.
All in all you are going to be quite busy as the Principal.