March 18, 2020

This is about you and the next steps in your school leadership career. Are you looking to land your first principal position? Are you seeking a new school or district leadership role? If you’re reading this article, then I know you are someone who stands out…but do you stand out in the interview process?

It’s one thing to be the right person for the job. It’s another thing to stand out in the interview process.

In today’s Get The Gig live tip 2, we share another power tip to help you Manage Hard, Lead Easy.

(Did you miss live tip 1? You can still watch the replay by clicking here.)

Tip 2: Manage Hard, Lead Easy

What’s in the Video?
0:40 – Recap Tip 1
1:20 – Facts About Principal Positions
1:45 – Lack of Experience
2:35 – Aubrey and Lori
2:45 – Cliches in Interviews
2:57 – Leader But Not a Manager?
3:39 – Verbal Hugs and Headaches
4:03 – Manage Hard, Lead Easy
4:30 – Instead of Cliches, Do This
4:53 – Communicate Ducks In a Row
5:29 – Tip 3 is Coming

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

Manage hard means that you take the details of school management seriously. You’re not ready to dismiss the management of resources, communication, and staff relations in favor of verbal hugs.

Instead, you understand that management is the foundation of leadership.

Think about it. If the copy machines aren’t working, teachers won’t trust you’re an effective leader. If parents aren’t receiving timely and redundant communication, your assistant superintendent will hear about it.

 Manage the details hard, so you can lead people with ease.

Systems such as the Team Bring Forward System, Time Blocking, and Meeting Deja Vu can help you manage hard.

And in an interview, you will stand out as a candidate if you understand and communicate these types of school management systems.

Lack of Experience

Again, 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?”

Overwhelmingly, the responses congrued around a single objection in the principal interview process:

Lack of Experience

One way to address this problem is with getting involved above your job description (see a list of ideas here).

A second way to address the experience objection is by avoiding the cliches.

In your resume and in the interview, speak differently. Speak with the insights of a seasoned school leader.


Well, today’s tip is one example of speaking with experience. Having management systems in place is another example. Thoroughly understand and have systems in your toolkit, so that you demonstrate the prowess and peace of mind of a seasoned school leader.

COMING NEXT: Get The Gig Tip 3 – “Your Foundational Fingerprints”

Time To Act

As always, we want to hear from you. What thoughts do you have about Manage Hard, Lead Easy? Did any of the ideas in the video stand out to you?

Leave us a comment on this blog post.

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.

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