Are you a leadership superhero or a leader doing the best you can under ever increasing pressure? To get everything done that needs to be done in busy environments, educational leaders often feel like they have to be superheroes to get the job done. Not to mention the effort needed to inspire others to achieve great things. I remember talking to Dan, a school principal, about busy-ness and leadership when he said, ‘It feels like I need to wear my undies on the outside to manage competing priorities’. Being a superhero is lots of pressure … and not everyone can wear their undies on the outside.

When undertaking my leadership research, there was a body of research on the influence of superstars. One statement stood out – It is a cultural cliche that superstars (leaders of outstanding achievement) can serve as role models to others, inspiring and motivating them to do their best. Having an influence on people as a leaders is a complex issue but one things is clear:

Tapping into your mild superpowers is more effective than trying to be a leadership superhero!

What are mild superpowers?

I remember hearing comedian David Doherty say that his mild superpower was being a very good judge of whether things fit through doorways. In a sense, mild superpowers are those simple things that experience and intuition have taught us are useful and influential. Great leadership is about keeping our undies on the inside and tapping into our unique strengths. When we model performance that is consistent with our strengths, and is viewed by others as attainable and relevant, people will feel empowered and inspired!

It’s more about what’s on the inside that counts … if you’re trying to be a leadership superhero, you’re always trying to hide your true identity!