Most of my thinking happens at the cusp of Management and Education. Sometimes when I rue guidance counselling and wish that I’d not done an MBA or working as a business consultant, investing those years in learning about schools and education, I am quick to remind myself that most schools and their leaders today are increasingly influenced by Business Writing.
Two questions and anwers made me smile. I’ve reproduced them here:
Question: What is the key to global competitiveness?
Answer: The data on this are clear—companies choose to locate their R & D facilities on the basis of the availability of talent. This is more important than tax abatements and certainly much more important than rates of pay. If location was determined by cost, Silicon Valley would be empty. The best way to build human capital is through education—both elementary and secondary as well as higher education that is truly world class. This costs money, but it is worth it.
Question: What is the proper role for a CEO?
Answer: To develop others and their talents and to create an environment in which people can do their best and want to. It is not to make all the decisions or, like some kind of “sun king,” absorb all the light and the attention.
In fact, sometimes, as the Grammy-award winning Orpheus Chamber orchestra shows, the best leadership is less leadership. No seed can grow if it is dug up and examined every week, and for people to innovate and get things done, sometimes they need some time and space and resources. In fact, sometimes, as the Grammy-award winning Orpheus Chamber orchestra shows, the best leadership is less leadership. No seed can grow if it is dug up and examined every week, and for people to innovate and get things done, sometimes they need some time and space and resources.
Most schools are rather bottom-heavy pyramids- lots of teachers/staff at one level of the hierarchy, and relative to other organisations, too few administrators and Principals at the top. This is true of India certainly; I assume with the cash crunch in education around the world, it is likely to be true of other countries as well.
In addition, with teaching increasingly becoming a less preferred vocation and attrition soaring higher, Principals are more likely to find themselves leading a team that they find ill-equipped, relative to their own days as members of a teaching cohort.
Because of these two reasons, (what with hundreds of children quaking in their boots at the sight of the Principal) , many of us who’ve led or lead schools can find it very easy to be drawn into this Sun-King delusion.
The best Leadership is not really Leadership in its glorious, warrior sense, it is compassionate & motivational direction-giving, appreciation and monitoring. The Principal could do well by thinking about a school and a team that he shepherds rather than controls.
It is not as exciting or sexy as it looks from the outside, this style of leadership, but it’s effective and in the long run, satisfying.
Are you a Principal or desire to be one? What has your experience been?