Keeping Your Vision in Mind: Leading in Uncertain Times

Serving as a leader in schools today is both challenging and frustrating, to say the least. Educators and leaders are under the pressures of accountability and working in a political climate like never before. This research brief is intended to provide a brief synopsis of the most current research being published regarding evidence-based leadership strategies and approaches, with the hope that it will provide you with some guidance and direction. All of the articles cited can be made available to you if you have an interest in reading further. In synthesizing the literature on school leadership, there are five essential components of leading a building or district through successful change. This brief will touch on all five components, in no particular order.



Principals and school leaders are being expected to do more with fewer resources than ever before. Although time is one of your most valuable resources, it is also a scarce commodity. Having enough time in the day to meet the demands and expectations is nearly impossible. If you begin to view time as an available resource rather than as a constraint, you can begin to understand and control your time. Three simple ways to begin making the most of your time are:


  • Do an analysis of how you are currently spending your time. Once you have an understanding of how you are currently spending your time, your current priorities will become clear. You can then ask yourself if you truly want to be spending your time the way you are.

  • Make your meetings more efficient because “time is money already spent.” Are you getting your money’s worth during meetings? Do you prepare an agenda for your meetings? Do you have a time keeper? A Recorder? Have your groups established norms?

  • Work to increase attendance by students and faculty – there is wasted effort when teachers are delivering lessons if many students are not there to experience and participate in the learning. In addition, it is a waste of time when you plan for a committee or faculty meeting and many teachers are absent or do not attend.

Delegating is one of those things most people know they need to do, but not everyone is good at relinquishing control to others, especially in such a high stakes environment. Researchers have identified seven specific advantages of delegation which help one to understand the benefits of assigning tasks to others.

Advantages of Delegation


Time - Increases the discretionary time of the leader

Development - Develops knowledge and capabilities of delegates

Trust - Demonstrates trust and confidence in delegates

Commitment - Enhances commitment to delegates

Information - Improves decision making with better information

Efficiency - Enhances efficiency and timeliness of decisions

Coordination - Fosters work integration by leader coordination

  Cameron & Whetton, Developing Management Skills, p. 420.


Although one may understand, conceptually, that delegation is important, it is often difficult to decide exactly what to delegate, and to whom. The following diagram provides a model for deciding when to delegate to an individual or to a team.


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