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A Principled Approach to Leadership

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About Bobby

Bobby Pollicino is the Head of Upper School at Bullis School in Potomac, MD. He has served as a school administrator for over 15 years, also in dean of students and assistant principal roles. He has taught high school courses in science, leadership, and public speaking while also serving as a varsity assistant soccer coach and varsity head lacrosse coach.

Bobby’s academic leadership career is grounded in a healthy interest in leadership which has led to conferences with Stanley King Institute, Garnder, Carney Leadership Institute, and a fellowship with Leadership+Design. Bobby has presented for local and national organizations on topics including meeting culture, digital wellness and hiring practices.

A native of Upstate New York, Bobby attributes many of his life lessons to observing the work ethic and commitment of his parents and older brother. He played high school and college lacrosse, winning a National Championship at the collegiate level. He has used many leadership lessons passed on from his high school and college coaches.

When not working or studying leadership, he spends time with his wife and three children. He has coached all three in various youth sports over the years. Bobby also enjoys running and cycling as well as training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He strives to be a better husband, father, leader, and person every day. A graduate of Washington College and William and Mary, Bobby lives with his family in Poolesville, MD.

Principled Leader

Book Information:

Principled Leader is due out in late 2022. The book is about Bobby’s personal journey on a leadership path and what he has learned on the journey. There are lessons about leadership for both your professional and personal life. As Bobby learned, two different philosophies will result in cognitive dissonance and a lack of growth in either area. This book is for current and aspiring leaders. It will challenge you and help you develop your leadership skills so you can find greater success in all aspects of your life. 

Check out the trailer for additional information on Principled Leader.

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Guiding Principles

  • Summary: We have a choice to make every day. Will we drift through life and react to what happens to us OR will we be intentional and chart a path so we can effectively respond to changes? Leaders must consistently evaluate their approach to decision making and how they respond to adversity. It can be easy to fall back to old habits or patterns if we are not careful. In order to avoid this, you must know your “why” and live it each day. 
  • Questions to further your growth in this area:
    • How do you live your purpose and your “why” every day?
    • What core values do you try to live by every day?
    • How do your purpose and your values show up every day?
    • What choices are you making that help or hinder your growth?
  • Summary: Successful leaders build and reinforce strong relationships. We cannot simply maintain a relationship because if we do not tend to it with care and intention, it will erode. Every interaction with a team member, superior, or family member can strengthen or weaken the bond. It is up to you!
  • Questions to further your growth in this area:
    • Who are the most important people in your life?
    • How do they know?
    • How do you demonstrate best intentions when interacting with someone?
    • When engaging in a conversation, how do you actively listen?
    • Do you listen first, ask a clarifying question, and then respond?
    • Do you ask genuine questions to better understand the people in your life and the challenges they are facing?


  • Summary: Your success as a leader is evident in the growth and success of those you lead. Leadership is a skill and it requires daily practice if you wish to be successful. Yesterday’s growth or improvement does not matter if you do not bring it forward today. The people on your team and in your family, deserve your best every day. 
  • Questions to further your growth in this area:
    • Are you the type of leader that you would follow? Why or why not?
    • How do you bring humility to your leadership style and interactions?
    • Do you know what your strengths are as a leader?
    • Where would you like to improve as a leader?
    • Is your communication style clear, effective, and timely?


  • Summary: We have to tend to our mental, physical and spiritual fitness on a consistent basis. Much attention has been given to the idea of “self-care” in light of the Covid pandemic. The reality is that individuals who were paying attention before the pandemic, came out better on the other side than those who were not. They adapted and responded instead of reacting. Take the time to do an honest reflection on your current mental, physical and spiritual fitness levels. Consider where you are and where you want to be. Now, take action!
  • Questions to further your growth in this area:
    • Are you living the lifestyle that you want to?
    • When was the last time you made an intentional effort to learn and grow?
    • Do you actively reflect on the decisions, choices, and experiences happening in your life?
    • Do you practice gratitude on a daily basis?
    • When are you at your best mentally and physically?
    • How can you grow or build off of this?
    • When do you feel weakest mentally and physically?
    • How can you avoid or limit this?


  • Summary: We are faced with decisions every single day from the moment our alarm clock goes off in the morning. These are as simple as what to eat for breakfast, what route to take to work to the more complex such as balancing the school’s budget. We can improve our decision making through practice and utilizing mental models. We can also improve as a leader by delegating some of these decisions to others. 
  • Questions to further your growth in this area:
    • How do you evaluate your decision making skills and tactics?
      • Do you look at the results or the process?


Core Values:

1 1


All decision-making is rooted in this core value. Can I look myself in the mirror and feel good about the decisions I made today?

“Integrity is making sure that the things you say and the things you do are in alignment.” - Katrina Mayer

2 2


The ability to focus on what needs to be done v what I want to do. It drives me to get up at 4:30 am every day to exercise. 

“If a person puts even one measure of effort into following ritual and the standards of righteousness, he will get back twice as much” – Xunzi

3 3


We need to exhibit daily courage to see everyday challenges as opportunities and make decisions that may not be popular

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela


I appreciate the opportunity to join leaders in the field of education and other arenas to discuss their experiences as well as my own.

Chris Wirth - No Quit Living Podcast

Episode 340. June 2021

Jared Smith - The Group Project Podcast

Episode 109. April 2022

Darrin Peppard - Leaning into Leadership

Episode 18. May 2022

Lainie Rowell - Evolving With Gratitude

Episode 7. May 2022

The Principled Leader - A Convo with Bobby Pollicino - The #InnovatorsMindset #Podcast

S3 EP45. November 2022

With Bobby Pollicino "The Principled Leader"

Episode 46. October 2022

Important Leadership Principles: Featuring Bobby Pollicino

Episode 234. April 2023

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse of Your Culture with Bobby Pollicino

EP155. March 2023

Communication, Reflection, and the Principled Leader with Bobby Pollicino

Episode 172. March 2023

Additional Publications:

February 2018

Reshuffle Your Staff CPD

March 2018, NAIS

How Self-Reflection Can Give Leaders New Perception

June 2022, Contributing Author

Evolving With Gratitude

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