SWOT Away Doubts and Analyze your Leadership Skills

by | Apr 6, 2018


How are you as a leader?  Do you ever doubt your effectiveness? Truth be told, we all second guess our abilities when it comes to leadership.

Today’s education climate is all performance-based. As the leader of the school, we are constantly looking at student performance and teacher performance. However, how often do you stop to look at your own performance? All good leaders have questioned their own skills, but the best leaders do more than question, they self-assess.

The performance of the student is indicative of the performance of the teacher and the performance of the teacher is indicative of the performance of the school leader. As you can clearly see, it’s a cycle, with each new step heavily dependent on the success of the prior step. All districts have multiple tools to monitor student growth, usually a handful of observations to assess teacher effectiveness. But what about the principal? Sure, the district has some sort of an administrator evaluation, but is it enough? 

Have you ever conducted a principal self-assessment? How do you measure up to your teacher and student performance metrics? I remember once being told this is just a blame game,. That can’t be farther from the truth. There is something to be said about being a reflective leader, and it begins with assessing ourselves.

Most great leaders are described as having a ferocious appetite for reading good books on the topic of leadership. One such book is the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. The author, Steven Covey, shared the following about what it takes to be a “Highly Effective Leader:”

  1. Be proactive
  2. Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first
  4. Think win-win
  5. Seek first to understand, then be understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw

These are great qualities to strive for in work and even in life, but the biggest take away is “make a plan of action” and “do something”. The best way to do this is to conduct a SWOT on yourself.

Typically, we think of SWOT as something done in the world of corporate business. What many don’t realize, completing a self-SWOT will help you analyze your own effectiveness as a leader.

Remember, strengths and weaknesses are internal vs. threats and strengths which are considered to be external. Make your T-chart and start with these instructions:

  • Strengths: List 4-5 strengths you have as a leader. Take one and develop a plan of action to address the maintenance of those strengths. For example, maybe one of your strengths is staff retention. What plan can you put in place to ensure you continuously retain your staff year after year?
  • Weakness: List 4-5 weaknesses you have as a leader. Take one and develop a plan of action. Some leaders only visit classrooms for formal teacher evaluations. A plan of action could be to visit 2-3 classrooms per day.
  • Opportunities: List 4-5 opportunities available to you. Pick one and develop a plan of action. Perhaps you struggle with networking. Do some research and find networking opportunities near you and take advantage of them.
  • Threats: List 4-5 threats you face as a school leader. Choose one and develop a plan of action. Keep in mind, threats are opportunities in disguise, so think beyond your typcial framework!

Once you have your plan of action, turn those action steps into a few SMART goals for a complete self-analysis!                   

  • Specific – what are you trying to achieve?
  • Measurable – attach numbers to your goal.
  • Action oriented – what steps will you take?
  • Realistic – can these goals be attained?
  • Timely – when will these goals be accomplished?


As the leader of the school, you are always looking at growing staff and students through new and innovative ways. Don’t forget to take the needed time to also look at growing yourself. Lifelong learning is no longer a choice, it is a necessity! If you’ve enjoyed this article on performing a SWOT analysis on yourself, feel free to check out other topics covered in our blog posts each weekwww.studentachievementsolutions/blog.