Mental Models of the Principal (5:365)



We have mental models of what type or who we think should be leaders. A mental model is your thought process of  how something should be or is in the real world.


Peter Senge wrote extensively about mental models in The Fifth Discipline. These deeply ingrained assumptions and images frame they way we perceive the world. In turn, our mental models impact organizations in more ways than you can imagine.


Recently, during the holidays, I had an interesting conversation with my 9 year old niece. I was being silly and dancing around with my daughter and my other nieces. So my 9 year old niece said, “I can’t believe your a principal.” I should have replied, “Honestly, neither can I.” Rather, I asked her to share her perception of a principal.


Her idea of a principal is pretty similar to what I thought a principal was supposed to be when I was her age…. She said principals are always well dressed, serious, you never want to go to their office, only the bad kids go there, they have a walkie-talkie, and they never act silly…. Thankfully, I am none of these!


What are your mental models of the principal? Do you realize the impact mental models have on the future of educators and administrators? Let’s not limit the future…. from what we know about the present…


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