5 Ways Leadership is Like Building a Sandcastle

Being a leader is not easy. Leaders must be steadfast during the storm and be able to remain standing through thick and thin. I was lucky enough to spend some time this summer on a beach building sandcastles with my children. As we built our castle, I was reflected upon my own work as an educational leader. I realized that building a sandcastle is a lot like navigating leadership.

Here are five ways that building sandcastle is a lot like being a leader.

  1. Location, Location, Location

Think of your sandcastle as an initiative. Build it to close to the waves and it will be washed away. Build it too far from the water and it is irrelevant. You’ve got to find that sweet spot. Your castle needs to get a little wet in order to test the strength of the walls, moats, and towers. Once this happens, you can change your design and construction to ensure that it will be able to withstand the waves.

  1. Tools are important

In order for us to properly build our sandcastle, we needed to get some tools. Picking the proper tool for the job is important; shovels for the moats, buckets for the walls and towers. The rake and hoe come in handy for smoothing everything out. Getting your hands a little dirty doesn’t hurt either. Ensuring that you have the right tool for the right job will allow you to build a sandcastle that is strong, detailed, and multi-dimensional.

  1. Check the Foundation

Ever notice that the sand at the beach is different depending on where you are? Beach terrain can be super soft, rocky, or full of seaweed. Building a sandcastle on the wrong foundation will result in a quick demise after exerting tons of energy trying to get it off the ground. Survey the landscape and know when and where it is time to build.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

Have you ever noticed that building a sandcastle at the beach attracts on-lookers? Beach-goers are often interested in what you are building and some are even eager to help out. Don’t try to build your castle by yourself. The best sandcastles come from a group effort as different builders bring different strengths to the job.

  1. Understand That Your Work is Never Done

Building a sandcastle is one thing. Maintaining the castle’s structure and fortitude is another. Being able to sustain a sandcastle requires on-going maintenance and frequent assessing of the walls, towers, moats, and décor. There is always room for improvement and opportunity. Keep building, because every sandcastle is a work of wonder for a child.

Dr. David Franklin, CEO of The Principal’s Desk, is an experienced school administrator, education professor, curriculum designer, and presenter. Dr. Franklin has presented at national and international education conferences as is available for school and district professional development sessions. He can be reached at david@theprincipalsdesk.org or at www.principalsdesk.org.

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