Power struggles. Communication problems. Wildly different expectations. This might sound like a rough morning getting the kids ready for school (why is there always one missing shoe?), or the setup for an Odd Couple-inspired sitcom, but I actually have a different situation in mind. For some parent group leaders, these are the signs of a less-than-ideal working relationship with the school principal.

In a perfect world, all principals and PTO leaders would work together as partners. But we hear all the time from leaders who feel like their principal is putting up obstacles for their group rather than cheering them on. When you’ve spent so much time trying to get parents involved, it can be disheartening to have someone put the kibosh on your big plans.

Of course, each situation is unique and there are different personalities at play, but my best advice for when you encounter problems with the principal is to take a deep breath and focus on what you have in common. After all, what you both want most is to see the school and students succeed.

Maybe the principal doesn’t love your idea for book bingo, but you might actually have similar goals—she’d just prefer to enhance literacy by starting a tutoring program. You won’t know if you don’t communicate.

You’ll find more advice for handling challenging principal situations in “Real Talk About Principals." As far as those rough mornings getting the kids ready for school—well, you’re on your own there!

Spread the word—schools thrive because of hard-working parent groups