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The Benefits of Less Projects

The Benefits of Less Projects to your Leadership Career

When you're trying to move from the classroom into a leadership position, you take the opportunities that present themselves. No matter what they are.  It makes sense that we do this as aspiring leaders. Any experience in leadership is better than none.

To get a promotion, you’re going to need to write your application where each criteria should be evidenced by a leadership story highlighting your capability to do the desired leadership role. Some states have up to 10 criteria that you need to write to for a role, meaning you have lots of leadership stories to cultivate before you can start applying for roles (FYI: this is not true though)


By having only a few projects that you’re working on at any one time, while still teaching, allows you to give your full attention and delve deeper into them. Really exploring full implementation of an initiative, creating leadership stories that are rich with evidence of your successes.


With those leadership experiences, you can leverage what you've learnt and have an increased likelihood of gaining more influential and important opportunities in the future. Creating for yourself a constant improvement cycle in your leadership ability.



Here are five reasons how doing less is better than doing more.


Less projects allows you to develop at a sustainable rate


In this phase of your career, it is easy to get overwhelmed, fast. Once the decision to actively seek experiences for a future application has been made, everything around you will start to look like a problem that you could solve. Every little niggly aspect of your stage team or students learning will become a possible leadership story you could use in an application.


And because we want to take initiative, we jump in and get started but not just with one project, but with a bunch of 'low hanging fruit' tasks that if improved would benefit students and teachers. We do this because we want as much experience as possible to show admin that we can take on bigger projects.


It can also be at this point, that you may ask your admin team for additional responsibly as well, adding to your workload. Even if the requested project is not in alignment with the kind of work you want to be doing, you say, "Yes".  Without knowing when the next opportunity is coming your way, we justify taking on this work because "all experience is good experience" This feeling that we are not enough until we have proven to ourselves and others that we can be a leader.


It's important that you take some time to do an audit of what you're doing and where you want to be. This blog here will help you with ensuring the projects you are doing at school will get you the result you desire.


Give yourself permission to take time to grow into the leader you want to be. I have no problem with people wanting to get a promotion as soon as possible but do so at a rate that you are comfortable with. If you don't become selective about what you are doing, you'll become overwhelmed with the pace at which you need to gain the relevant skills required to lead so many projects.


Less projects can increase the number of successful application stories.


That seems counter intuitive but when looking at application stories, you need to show a clear beginning middle and end to an improvement you have led. As an aspiring leader, you can easily do this within 1 or 2 terms whilst still being in the classroom full time.


Small projects can be done quickly. If you keep the initiative specific and narrowed down to one aspect of a problem, you can have a whole selection criteria story within 1 term. Bigger initiatives will take longer time but never underestimate small quick improvements. They build your momentum. They increase visibility at school.


Start with a few small projects first. Keep them simple with a clear improvement cycle. Spend time identifying the simple actions that made the initiative work well. Then take those lessons and start a few more projects.


Less projects allow you to go deeper


If you do too many things all at once, nothing will be done well. Keep the number of your projects low so that you do each one well.


Instead of looking for new things to improve, how can you broaden the initiative? More grade levels? More schools involved as a network? More outside the school involvement?


Instead of looking for new initiatives, what are you missing in your application and add that aspect to the current projects you're leading. It can be easier to add to your current project an aspect for a different selection criterion rather than starting from scratch with a new initiative. I know it is not always possible, but it’s worth looking into before allowing an initiative to move to the maintenance stage. Need to have more parent involvement? Need to look at wellbeing?


The depth of a project can provide you more challenges. New initiatives provide reinvigoration to a team/school but as time goes on, the momentum wains. People stop focusing on the important work and slowly become complacent or non-compliant. This is the juicy stuff of leadership. What are you doing to keep the momentum you've started so that the project can make it to full implementation? These challenges provide you with a depth of leadership experience you won't gain in your always chasing the new and shiny. Peoples reluctant allows you to practice how you do leadership.



Less projects allows you to practice your productivity and prioritising.


Leadership in middle management is all about the juggle between big picture, big-ticket, long-term improvement versus the everyday management of running a team. As an aspiring leader, you’re building your capacity to master this juggling of big rocks vs small rocks. Luckily, you've already got experience with this in a different context.


As a classroom teacher, we're masters of keeping our eye on the big picture improvement we have for our students whilst considering a thousand small things we need to do to keep our classrooms working. We can articulate the big rocks for our students over the next school year plus list off all the small but not insignificant tasks that need to be done.


So, get clear on what your big ticket, big picture projects are so that you can take action on these whilst still managing your time and energy for the daily work of teaching.


Less projects are more impressive to a panel.


When the experiences you have cultivated on your application all speak to the role you're applying for, it speaks volumes about your focus and passion for the that area.


An application that has a vast array of experiences can be necessary for some roles, such as Assistant Principals in NSW. But often, a role requires a level of expertise to gain.


Being a Jack of all trades, master of none can highlight the unintentional approach you have taken to your leadership career. It can read as though you've agreed to do anything you've asked of you rather than cultivating experiences that are relevant to the kinds of role you want.


Applications that have a wide range of experiences can show that you may not have come up against the complexities of leading staff whereas if you've done a few things really deeply with a small group of people you've had those challenges come up.


So, in conclusion:

Less projects allows you to develop at a sustainable

Less projects can increase the number of successful application stories.

Less projects allow you to go deeper

Less projects allows you to practice your productivity and prioritising.

Less projects are more impressive to a panel.



If you're ready to let go of what is not working and dig in deeper to the projects that will get you a project, book a call here to discuss how I can help.