After going through an exhausting job search process, finally you have been appointed to your new leadership position and are starting the job. Of course, you want to be successful. Although you would never admit it, you are feeling insecure. You haven’t formed trusting relationships, you don’t know all of the aspects of your new role, you are trying to figure out the culture of the school-community, you don’t want to over-step your authority and offend anyone, and perhaps most importantly, you don’t know the internal politics. Most of your peers seem to be welcoming, and your staff appears to be friendly, but cautious and a bit uncomfortable around you. Of course, you want to make a good initial impression, but you need to figure out the social, political, and professional norms and expectations.

The best advice is to be cautious, go slow and steady, ask questions, be friendly, and pick “low lying fruit”, that is, easily accomplished goals which can be quickly achieved. However, you recognize that you are the “new kid in the class” and feel as if all eyes are on you, that you are being judged, and talked about. Most of your colleagues have been friendly and offered their assistance. Still, be careful about forming alliances and with whom you confide. Remember that your priority is to please your direct supervisor(s) and gain his/her confidence.

The trickiest job is figuring out the politics, that is who is allied with whom. On the surface it probably looks like one happy family. As you develop a clearer picture, you may find there may be bad histories among the cast of characters. There may be power conflicts, favoritism, grudges, and jealousies among and between colleagues. Therefore, you must be alert to behaviors and subtle signs that form a pattern as to the nature of the internal politics, and then you must figure out how to negotiate and navigate the politics.

I am an experienced, resourceful external mentor. For over forty years, I served as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent. As my client, I only have your interests at heart. I will help you analyze and sort out a clearer picture of your landscape, give you candid sound advice, and map out effective strategies. All of this will be done in the strictest of confidence


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