The Sad Life of the Overloaded School Leader
Have you spent any time with a school administrator? It's a stressful pace, especially in April and May!
Too often he or she hurries from place to place, talking to lots of people but deeply connecting with few. Living in a constant state of overload and chaos, the goal is more survival than strategic growth and relationship building.
What's the impact of overload?
Overload isn't a career trophy, it's just the result of underdeveloped time management skills and misplaced pride that disables the ability to delegate.
Overload leaves the school leader with no margin in the day, with the mind and body having zero time to process and recharge.
Overload disconnects him from those he wants to serve. When scrambling from appointment to crisis and so one, there's no time to be genuinely interested in people. The crazy schedule has displaced his original purpose.
Overload steals her joy because there's no time to appreciate the true value of people and experiences.
Overload becomes an excuse not to take proper personal care, with little time to eat a healthy diet and insufficient downtime for reflection and restoration.
Overload is an addictive habit that limits her ability to listen to teachers and students. Conversations are interrupted by passersby, and even when in a meeting a glazed stare is frequent because her mind is elsewhere.
Overload is exhausting, producing physical consequences that limit quality of life. The human body isn't wired to constantly run on the "red line."
Overload may have become the school leader's identity, where he's bought into busy-ness as demonstration of his commitment to the organization.
Overload keeps her from pursuing her dreams because there isn't any time left for such personal matters.
Lack of Focus Leads to Unhappiness
A major study on mental health found that people tend to spend nearly 50% of their time thinking about something else other than what they are currently doing.
The problem is that this habit of daydreaming leads to an unsatisfied feeling. "A human mind is a wandering mind and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost." (Science Magazine,"A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind", 11/12/10)
It's time to stop--even in the chaos of end-of-year festivities and commitments.
Invest in habits and learning opportunities that will give you and your leadership team the advantage of focus and results, while also developing the habits that lead to effective use of time and the development of relationships. (e.g., a Leadership Retreat)
Avoid the dangers of overload!
Remember that effective school leadership isn't about finding more things to do--the key is finding the right things to do and then developing the habits of a healthy person and a healthy organization.