Most school districts claim to want to move from good to great, become world class, become a 21st century district, or fill in the slogan blank. Getting past the cliches (and the fact that we’re 14 years into the 21st century already), effective implementation of these transformations/progressions requires progressive thinking and leadership. Doing things the way you’ve always done them is not going to vault you to a new status; it will maintain your current status. As a matter of fact, maintaining while others around you vault forward, relatively speaking, equates to falling behind.
Whether leadership positions are in classrooms responsible for kids, or offices responsible for adults, people look up to you everyday. Leadership positions tend to be occupied by leaders and managers. Some differences are:
|support creativity & divergent thinking||teach “the right way” & make sure everyone knows what to think|
|trust||look over the shoulder|
|delegate tasks of great responsibility||delegate tasks of minor responsibility|
|ask questions||tell the correct answer|
|seek knowledge from everyone||have prior knowledge to impart on everyone|
|relate to people at work||make sure people relate to their work|
|find big picture solutions||provide quick fixes|
|focus on a few priorities||take on many projects at once|
|assume responsibility and apologize||place blame|
|don’t ask others to do anything they don’t do themselves||ask others to do things they don’t do|
|do what’s right||do what keeps them out of trouble|
|reflect to improve||reflect to pat themselves on the back|
|create a climate of candor||intimidate others into agreement|
|follow through on their word||are too busy to follow through on their word|
|earn respect by giving it||expect respect because of their title|
|find solutions||find problems|
The truth is, the style shows. Kids know it, parents know it, colleagues know it. A progressive environment requires a progressive leader. At the end of the day, leadership is either the reason things do happen, or the reason things do not happen. Whether it’s kids or adults, challenge yourself as a leader to remove obstacles for them, unlock invisible shackles, eliminate excuses, offer full support, empower, and be the reason things do happen.
I would love to hear more characteristics or your thoughts on leaders and managers.