1. Keep an eye on stress levels.

If families and fellow leaders are showing signs of burnout, plan a few activities for everyone to bond and relax. You’re allowed to use resources for purely social events.

2. Keep the PTO’s mission in mind.

What are your group’s goals? Knowing the answer, and putting it front and center, will help focus all efforts for greater success.

All the know-how you need to be an effective and successful parent group leader!

3. Really listen to what people say (and how they say it).

Committee chair, parent, board member—is the person excited, worried, critical? Even if you disagree with the content, try to get the underlying emotion.

4. Build a partnership with the principal.

She can and should be your biggest ally. Maintain open lines of communication; check in often about priorities. And whenever you can, make her look good!

5. Communicate early, often, then over again.

This applies to upcoming events as well as recent accomplishments. Let parents know what’s happening next week plus what’s coming up next month. Use lots of different methods to spread the word.

6. Learn to delegate.

If you haven’t already, now is the time! For starters, distinguish between things that must be done a certain way (like sending newsletter content to the school secretary) and things you just want done your way.

Originally posted in 2010 and updated regularly.