Saying leading is tough would be an understatement. However, it is even tougher to lead when we aren't sure which way to go. The best way to plot a course to an appropriate destination?
Make sure you know your audience.
One of the most time consuming aspects of leadership (and therefore one of the most often overlooked) is getting to truly know all your stakeholders. Building relationships takes time, and if there is one thing that leaders don't have a lot of, it is minutes and hours to spare.
However, learning the needs and wants of your staff is one of the most vital steps you can take as a leader. It prepares you to focus on your community and problems and challenges, and just as importantly, it extends to your stakeholders that you are present for them.
Building these relationships is important for those new to positions, but it is just as important for veterans. Just because we know our staff, students, and parents, doesn't mean we truly "know" them. We must be visible, active within the community, and willing to help at any given moment.
Sailing a ship is a challenge, which is why it is great that leaders have other leaders and learners surrounding them. The more opportunities for collaboration, the better! But, even if the ship is well-maintained and outfitted, if there is no navigator, or the course isn't mapped out, the ship will eventually deteriorate, along with those on it.
Know your audience. It's the only way to make sure the course you're plotting matches the place people want to be.