Management and Leadership

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by digitpediaI heard an administrator say this the other day regarding the use of  Twitter:

“When would I have time to go on there?  I have 150 emails a day that I need to take care of!  When would I possibly have time to tweet?”

I thought about this statement. A lot. The thing is, you don't have to tweet but you do have to keep up with your email, just like you have to keep up with paperwork.  Those are all details that have so much to do with management, and very little with leadership. Now using Twitter to improve your professional learning is different.  I don't have to do it but I do know that if I want to be a leader and help find the best ideas for my school/division so I can help them grow, I will make i

t a priority.  The reality is that extra work that you put in to better your school has so much to do with leadership, and very little to do with management. There is some element of management that is needed in schools in every position including that of teacher, and sometimes even student.  I am not going to say that management is not important.  Imagine a world class chef owning a restaurant but never paying the bills?  The place would get shut down. But leadership is so much more than keeping up with your emails. I remember talking to an aspiring administrator about the job of principal and telling him that the job is as challenging as you want to be.  If he wanted to do great things, it was going to take more time.  But if he wanted to just “maintain”, the work load is much less. With all that being said, I don't want to say that the administrator is not a leader.  I only heard that one statement.  But when we discredit what we don't know, we can often look foolish. Whatever you are wanting to do to move your school forward, the time is there.  It really never is about time, but in actuality, it is about priority.



  1. Jethro Jones said:

    The way I see it, management gets in the way of leadership too often We need to find ways to streamline management so we can enhance our leadership.

    We always make time for what we feel is a priority. It doesn’t take long for us to learn that if we will ever admit that it is isn’t about time, it is about priority.

    August 3, 2012
  2. Joe Mazza said:

    George – great thoughts here. I had the same kind of conversation with someone in edleadership today. I really want to create a short video highlighting a leader tweeting &the impact on PD & collaboration much like this school did->

    …but relating it to our own district to paint a picture of it’s leadership impact from the lens of a teacher, parent & administrator. Thanks for always making me think deeper.

    August 3, 2012
  3. I think we need both–leadership will move people and systems forward, they will make the time to seek out the best ideas to serve children well. We also need bright, effective management who can employ streamlined systems with all the “nuts and bolts” in place and ready to run so we have the time, place and tools to do our jobs well.

    August 3, 2012
  4. Hey Pal,

    Two reactions:

    1). What frustrates me about comments like these is that if leaders use it correctly, Twitter will SAVE them time. It serves to filter content for school leaders, putting them in touch with ideas that can help them complete daily tasks quickly and easily.

    As a current example, I’ve read a TON of “Getting Your School Off to a Great Start” posts in the #cpchat stream over the past few weeks. Inevitably, SOMETHING in those posts would help a principal.

    Twitter isn’t “something else to do.” It’s a place to find ideas that can help you tackle the complex tasks that are already on your to-do list.

    2). I wonder if the word “administrator” is a stumbling block to leadership. When I think of “administration,” I think of simple tasks — paying the bills, sending the emails, filling out paperwork.

    When I think of leadership, I think of much more sophisticated tasks — setting a vision, imagining new realities, inspiring colleagues.

    Maybe we need to erase the word “administrator” from conversations about school leadership. Maybe that would help to refocus school leaders on tasks that are more meaningful and productive.

    Hope you’re well,

    August 4, 2012
    • Bill,

      Amen! I agree with your comment about getting rid of the word “administrator” because it brings images of paper-pushing, deskjocking, and minutiae. Unfortunately, the has come from common practices of administrators, all of which I am guilty of doing.

      On the other had, Twitter has helped many of us become much better leaders, facilitators of learning, and deeper thinkers about our craft. It does take time, but so does everything else. The other folks that have commented here have stressed the importance of time vs. priority. My wife always reminds me that, “you make the time to do the things you really want to do.” BOOM!

      Be Great,


      August 4, 2012
  5. George,

    Another great post that is timely during Connected Educator Month in the US. I’ve had the opportunity to share to impact of Twiter with a group of adminstrators recently and they are now engaged, active users. Some lurk, which is perfectly fine, while a few have jumped in because they now understand it.

    Leaders like you continue to show how the use of Twitter as a professional learning tool has impacted others, so thank you for sharing your work, thoughts, and ideas. “It’s not about time, but priority.”

    Be Great,


    August 4, 2012
  6. Judi Hadden said:

    How can one lead and not be using twitter? Agreed with all of the above. I think that it is about continuing to be the learner, modeling risk taking and adapting to new opportunities.

    August 13, 2012
  7. Chris Hale said:

    Interestingly, my wife (also a VP) and I have this conversation all the time. She does not see how Twitter can be useful or how I have the time to follow the conversations given how busy we are in our schools. While I tell her about the PD benefits, she does not get it — she is not a techy person. That said, she is a voracious reader who is always looking for new resources to share with her teachers. To be a good leader, does not require time on Twitter; to be a poor leader is to not take the time to grow at all. We each find our own way to grow, to learn, to share. The key is that we DO take time.

    Chris Hale

    August 19, 2012

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