March 14, 2020

You have the opportunity to stand out as a school leadership candidate. You can refine your message and shift your story to directly address the needs of the school or district you are seeking to lead.

This opportunity is more than just about “Getting The Gig”. It’s about taking the first steps in guiding the school to success.

In today’s blog post, we’re going to share one power tip to help you Be the Guide Not the Agent.

Tip 1: Be the Guide Not the Agent

This video is from our Facebook Live Tips series. You can receive notifications next time we go live by following the Principals’ Seminar Facebook Page.

0:20 – Why This Video?
0:50 – Why This Tip?
1:10 – One Question
1:30 – Invite to the One Question
1:40 – Challenge of Landing a Leadership Position
2:25 – Aubrey Patterson and Lori Harvie
3:00 – Be The Guide Not The Agent
3:10 – Standing Out As A Candidate
3:55 – Meeting the Needs in the Interview Room
4:15 – The Problem of No Experience (The Agent)
4:33 – Yoda, Not Luke
4:45 – Uncomfortable Terminology
5:15 – Preview of What’s to Come
6:00 – How To Watch the Next Live Chats

Guides lead and stay with you through the entire process. Agents sell you and leave you.

 It’s a valuable lesson for school leadership, but it’s also a story mind shift that needs to occur prior to you entering the interview (see principal interview tips here). It needs to occur prior to you writing your resume and cover letter.

Your Answers and What’s Next

First, I’d like to say a massive thanks to all the responses we receive in our One Question (answer it here). We asked, “What’s the one domino, the one question, or the one obstacle you face in landing your next educational leadership role?”

There are some very real challenges in the way of moving into your next school leadership position. These include:

  • Not having the experience to provide real examples of my leadership in action during an interview.
  • Limited opportunities and experiences.
  • Confidence.
  • Distinguishing yourself from other candidates.
  • Knowing how to lead educators who have limited passion for education.

We’re going to address these concerns over the next two Facebook Live Tips. Read the Next Tip: Manage Hard, Lead Easy.

Time To Act

As always, we want to hear from you. What thoughts do you have about Being the Guide, Not the Agent? What questions or ideas do you have about Getting the Gig? What challenges do you encounter with securing your next leadership position?

Leave us a comment down below.

Matt Foster


"I help people discover new perspectives." Matt is an educational creator, writer, business owner, certified teacher, certified principal, and sailor. He is CEO of TeamTom Education LLC and co-founder here at Principals' Seminar.

  • I am a vice-principal working with staff and parents from home until our school system re-opens. Unchartered territory, (COVID response planning), has led to increased personal reflection on the shift in leadership roles we are currently facing. I definitely couldn’t continue to lead my school community, virtually, if they didn’t have confidence in me to manage and support new systems of student services, teaching, and learning. This is the perfect time to update my resume and cover letter; new leadership skills are required of me daily and your excellent tips will help me build a stronger portfolio. I look forward to your future courses to help me along the way to becoming a principal.

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