What does it mean to be deliberate? Synonyms to the word include “intentional,” “conscious,” and “purposeful.” We can likely agree that these are qualities we desire in our leaders.


As a leader, you are responsible for key decisions in your organization. A deliberate strategy will serve you well.


Here are some key descriptors of deliberate leadership.


I can speak my organization’s mission statement from memory.

Deliberate leadership starts with knowing your mission and referencing it every time you make a decision. “Is this aligned with our mission?” is your new leadership mantra.


I can explain exactly how our organization’s programs serve out our mission.

The programs are how you deliver on your mission. Every service and event you offer is a “program.” Do they all align with your mission? When you are considering making changes to your programs, always check in with your mission.


I can explain how our budget supports the programs and I can describe our top budgetary priorities.

Deliberate leadership includes intimate knowledge of the budget and how it ties to programming. When spending adjustments must be made, bold leaders protect programs over administrative budgets.


When I make major decisions I always consider the organization’s policies.

You, your colleagues, and perhaps your predecessors have all taken the time to craft policies and procedures for your organization. As the leader, you must model adherence to the policies for your team. This creates predictability and a baseline standard of conduct. If you find your organization’s policies to be frustrating or limiting to your ability to make good decisions, why do those policies exist?


When I make major decisions I always consider the organization’s people.

Your people matter most of all. Who will be impacted by this decision? How? Are there certain people who will face disproportionately negative impact? How can you prepare them before making an announcement? Did you include stakeholders in making this decision? Have you thoughtfully filtered for bias? Are you sure this decision is inclusive of a diverse range of human identities and needs? Think about the people.


When I make major decisions I always consider the organization’s culture and history.

Your organization has a backstory. Over time, a culture has been built upon that history. While you lead your program forward, do not forget from whence you came. It matters.


My organization has a strategic plan that is actively used and regularly updated.

You need a plan. Without one, stagnation is probably. Deliberate leaders know that the world and the people in it are always changing. Status quo isn’t possible. Without a strategic plan, you are sprinting to nowhere.




The people in my organization are invited to give formal feedback, at least on an annual basis.

Formal surveys with similar questions year over year will give you a trove of data that can help you be an even more deliberate leader. Survey your employees separately from the people your program serves at the same time each year. Share the data publicly and use it to start a conversation.


The people in my organization are invited to give informal feedback, without retribution, at any time and they know the process for doing so.

The annual survey is a great start. Deliberate leaders know they must also build a culture of trust through reciprocal feedback that is both candid and respectful. You start by modeling openness to feedback and your staff will get comfortable with it too.


After reading this, how deliberate do you think you are being in your leadership?


One place I know we want to be more deliberate in our schools is when we hire lead teachers. With the shortage of teachers, we sometimes hire people based on their qualifications but find out they aren’t a great fit for our schools.


That’s why I built Montessori Match. I want to help schools and teachers move beyond the resume. We filter credentials first, but then we move into knowledge, skills, and personality traits.



Schools find teachers who fit their exact needs. Teachers find schools where they are valued and appreciated for their unique qualities. Everyone wins.


Try building a profile for your school’s dream teacher today…then share it with a friend!



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