Take Off the Mask

be authentic

School Leaders … A Challenge:

Be authentic

School leaders today I challenge you to take off the mask if you haven’t already done so.

You don’t have to be someone else to be an effective school leader. Click to Tweet

A lot of us wear masks to work, at home, in the gym, attempting to be someone we are not. But that is fake. And everyone knows it.

Do you have what it takes to be authentic? Click to Tweet.

A Portrait of the School Leader as a Young Man

When I was a young teacher in Marietta, GA I admired many veteran teachers that were highly effective at their craft. I remember walking my class to lunch each day. At the time I was teaching 6th grade Reading and Language Arts and on our way to lunch we would walk through the 8th grade hallway.

There were two teachers in the 8th grade hall that I admired. One was a science teacher; she had the strength of Wonder Woman. I observed her a couple times and the kids did whatever she said whenever she said it.

Across the hall from her was a Social Studies teacher, an ex-military guy. He would have his 8th grade students line up outside of his class … the first student stood on a blue taped X on the ground and the whole line would be single file and silent until he gave the word to enter class.

Every time I saw his line of students I thought, “kids can do that?”

So I tried to be like Wonder Woman and Captain America.  However, that was not the school leader I was created to be. I felt like a phony and the kids saw through my acting.  I needed to take off the mask.

The greatest thing I learned from that experience as a novice school leader was that I need to be authentic, the real me, and that was good enough.  Click to Tweet.

As a teacher, I wouldn’t like it every kid was the exact same version of the next one. The class identity formed through diversity would not exist. The same is for school leaders in education.

Be yourself. Be authentic.

School Leaders … it is time to take off your mask!

Learn from others and learn from the best. Adapt their strategies to your style, but always remain true to yourself. Your colleagues will appreciate your authenticity and you will gain their respect by being true to yourself.

You’ll also feel great because you are great. Now show the world.



Do you struggle to take off the mask?  The best book I’ve read on authenticity and vulnerability is Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.  She will be speaking at the Willow Global Leadership Summit in August 2015.  You can learn more about the event here.



Daniel E. Bauer

Daniel E. Bauer


Skype: betterleadersbetterschools

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Email: daniel@betterleadersbetterschools.com

I teach leadership skills through a data-driven and emotionally healthy approach that gets others to perform their best.

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P.S. I wrote a short eBook highlighting what I learned from the WCA Global Leadership Summit.





“My best Santo pose” by Señor Codo licensed by CC 2.0

“Awesome Minion T-Shirt at Target with Scringy!” by Mike Mozart licensed by CC 2.0