How often does this happen in schools across America? A leader, the proverbial knife, has become dull and ineffective so what typically happens to him? He is replaced with a newer, younger, or more innovative leader. Sometimes the leader is sharp enough to cut through the meat of the campus culture that is inherited, and other times he is just as dull as the leader he replaced. The problem is that leaders, like knives, must be sharpened regularly or they will lose their effectiveness. If the dull blade is replaced with a newer blade but is not provided systems to keep the new blade sharp, the school will eventually have to replace that leader too. Systems of sustainability are critical to help leaders maintain their edge of effectiveness.
So how can school districts help leaders stay sharp and effective? I find there are 3 things that all leaders must do to keep their edge.