Dear School Administrative Professional,
This just in: You are the school’s CEO.
The qualities you possess are also those big business leaders look for when building their own executive teams. In a recent letter to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett and his business partner, Charlie Munger, outlined four essential traits they look for in a leader, and that person looks a lot like you. OK, maybe you aren’t interested in becoming a top executive at a financial behemoth, but according to this article, you have what it takes to make and manage billions. This doesn’t surprise us, since you command the school with finesse every day, and we never see you sweat. Thank you.
Essential Trait #1: A great leader is trustworthy.
Principals, teachers, parents and students (all of us, really) recognize and appreciate your discretion. You are an excellent listener, so kids regularly unload on you as soon as they are called to the office—you often help them sort out their emotions and you extract confessions with tender kindness. It makes all of our jobs easier. The students see you as a trusted ally who also plays nurse, counselor and parent as needed. You know solid relationships are as important as completing your daily tasks.
Essential Trait #2: A great leader is highly skilled.
You think on your feet. Because of you, before- and after-school bedlam is a manageable machine. Even the most rambunctious students (and teachers and parents) wait patiently—or at least wait—their turns. Your ninja organization skills baffle most of us: Who knows where the permission slips are, what that darned inservice schedule looks like, who still owes for the 8th grade field trip and when the next fire drill is off the top of their head? You. Every time the copier jams, we call you. Why? You fix it faster and better than anyone else.
Essential Trait #3: A great leader exudes positive energy.
Your friendly face is often the first our guests see when they walk in the building, setting a positive tone for the rest of their interactions (even the irate parent who needs to see the principal RIGHT NOW). Positive morale is contagious, and you know it. We appreciate the extra effort you put into seasonal decorations, organizing assemblies and putting on special events. And thanks for remembering our birthdays. You don’t have to, but you do.
Essential Trait #4: A great leader loves the business.
Put simply, our business is to raise well-educated good citizens. We appreciate that you believe in and deliver on our mission in your every interaction. Your support for the team shows. You are often first one in the building and the last one to leave, not because you get paid the most. It’s because you are dedicated and passionate about helping others. Each one of our students has a bright future, and you contribute to it. Thanks.
You are the school’s CEO: Chief Everything Officer.
So the next time you are juggling the chaos (including, but not limited to first-aid for a skinned knee, a lost lunch bag, forgotten homework, excuse slips and tardy passes—all this before the first bell), remember you exemplify the personal and professional qualities that help make our students successful. We commend you for a job well done.
Share this post with the awesome school administrative professional in your life! And come and chat with us in our WeAreTeachers Chat group on Facebook.
Plus, an open letter to school janitors.