Where is my Leadership Mojo? And how will I get it back?

source: despair.com

Being a reflective leader can be very difficult. Basically, if I am being honest in my reflections I have to write about the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am not sure which category this would fit into, but I need to come clean on something…. I feel like I lost my leadership mojo.


I’m not sure when, where, or even why, but as of now…. it’s gone. I know that people I work with have noticed. Yet, only two people have had the courage to address it with me. Their conversations started off very similar…. something to the effect of, “You’re not yourself lately” or “Is everything OK?” Every leader needs a Merlin, or trusted advisor within an organization. My “Merlins” were checking on me, and I had to be honest with them….. I just didn’t have any answers. I couldn’t put my fingers on it. I think they understood. I hope they understand.

Source themarteneygroup.com


Being a principal is not an easy job. It can be thankless, frustrating, political, and stressful. I get that, but honestly, I know I can deal with those challenges. Being a principal in 2013 sure comes with additional responsibilities because we are at a crossroads in education. We are constantly under scrutiny, pressed for outcomes, and responsible to fix a broken system that we didn’t break.  I can deal with that too!


I asked myself if I was alone in this? Thankfully the answer to this is no. Others have been brave enough to reflect on their leadership challenges. Recently, I went back and read two very important blog posts from mentors of my PLN. In his post, Disconnect to Reconnect, Dwight Carter discussed how his social media presence began to impede his ability to connect with his teachers. Dwight put his devices to the side and focused more of his energies on his school. To an extent, Dwight knows what I am going through….. Then there is George Couros. In his post, Fall Apart or Fall Together he talked about his struggles of leadership as he was zapped with low energy and a general malaise. George re-connected with his leadership by paying it forward. He began to help Edmonton Humane Society. They lost it, and found it.  Encouraging!


I’m still left with this question…How will I get my leadership mojo back? My first step was admitting that it was gone. That’s what this blog post is about. Believe me, this was the hardest step. I knew by exposing myself in this format, it could have a negative (or less desired) impact then I am seeking. It took a long time to hit the publish button. The second step was looking to trusted advisors, Merlins, and mentors to seek out advice from those who want me to succeed. They have all said the same thing…. it will get better, take care of yourself, you can do this, we believe in you! The third step was to start taking better care of my mind, body and spirit. I am thankful that I have a very supportive network, and I appreciate all of the help.


As for the rest of the story? Well, it hasn’t been written…. yet!

14 thoughts on “Where is my Leadership Mojo? And how will I get it back?

  1. Leadership and education has ups and downs, and you have to recognize that. I still have times where I question if I am doing the thing that I am meant to do, but for me, it always comes back to the kids. If you start to focus outwards on them, as opposed to inwards on what is wrong with you, you might find your answer.

    Thanks for being so open and honest about your struggles! We have all been there!

  2. Spike,

    That took a lot of courage to share those thoughts with us. I have to agree that you are on the right track. You have acknowledged it, you’ve begun to talk about it. You are investing in the third step as well. Having high expectations can sometimes pull us into a malaise when we don’t that things are “better than ever”. We all go through the flat time, but recognizing it and push past it we do. As i have followed you these past several months, you have served as an inspiration for me to push forward with my own thoughts and actions as an administrator.

    Thank you for sharing and please continue to do so!

    • Thanks Thad!
      You are so right… High expectations certainly leads to times like these. Thanks for the kind words. I have learned much for you as well!

  3. Spike,

    Your honesty in your post shows true leadership and self-reflection. I think we all have doubts at times with what we do and decisions we make. We both know NJDOE is not making our jobs any easier. Surround yourself with good people, take care of yourself and enjoy watching your students laughing, learning and growing.

  4. Love! I’m not a principal, but as with anything else, remember the why. Why you took on the position; and why it was important. You will find your mojo again and will be a better leader because of this.

  5. Spike, as I said in my tweet, it was very courageous of you to reflect so openly about this topic. You are definitely not alone! We’ve all gone through periods of time where the sheer frustration and demands of the principalship/leadership completely overwhelm us, and any joy that comes with serving in this role is masked. We are only human, after all. I think others who suggested trying to stay focused on the kids and remember that you are positively influencing so many teachers and children every single day were right on track with their suggestions. Now that you’re cognizant of these feelings, you can work to overcome them. Because, chances are, you’ll find yourself in this very situation in the future. No one really understands what a principal lives through on a daily basis until he/she becomes a principal. The enormous workload must be balanced with making time to appreciate the shining stars that are our children, teachers, and community members! I have no doubt you’ll continue to be a courageous leader. Make some time for yourself to rejuvenate! Thanks for sharing this.

    • Lyn,
      Thanks for your comments. It was an interesting day today after this post got around. Ironically, it helped, and I actually felt more connected to my leadership then the past few months. Thanks for the support and encouragement!

  6. Spike-
    There are seasons in every part of life. This includes leadership. As the ancient teacher said, “To everything there is a season…a time to weep and a time to laugh…a time to mourn and a time to dance…a time to keep silent and a time to speak.
    This seems to be your season to reflect and re-energize. Your mojo isn’t gone, it’s just taking a break. Hang tight and keep doing the right things you always do!

  7. Wow, and I thought it was just me. Good to know it is not just me, but more the position. Family demands, school demands, and the winter weather all play a part. I am in the same boar as you Spike. I am finding sparks though. Little things here and there. I am ready to try soem new approaches, like longer classroom visits, no office day, and other creative ways to turn the spark back into a flame and then a fire.

    Thanks for sharing and letting me I am not alone.

  8. Pingback: Dr. Cook's Blog - Leadership Mojo, and why I broke my New Year’s Resolution

  9. I have many family members who are teachers. I think part of being a good leader, or a good principal, is learning the art of delegating. Teaching is a decentralized kind of activity. Too many administrators attempt to micromanage a teacher’s activities. You give teachers the tools to succeed, and you step back. When there is a problem you help. Don’t worry so much about being a “leader”, just help your colleagues.

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