Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A well placed detour is better than a blocked road

detour One of my favorite moments as a school leader is when teachers approach me with good ideas.  To me, this is not only is a sign that I am doing something right in terms of leadership, there is also a degree of internal motivation exhibited.  These are wonderful situations and I get excited about the idea of building the leadership density among the faculty.

As the formal leader, I also have the responsibility for making sure any new implemented ideas are mission appropriate and well supported.  Even though the idea may not have been mine, I am still responsible.  As a wise friend of mine says, “You can delegate authority, but you cannot delegate your responsibility.”

Therefore, it often falls on me to ask questions about new ideas and pursue them with a frame of reference that is usually bigger picture than the teacher.  I am also sensitive to the pitfall of creating an environment in which teachers do not approach me with new ideas because of fear of too many roadblocks.

Good leaders are aware of the climate of innovation in their schools.  If you are not noticing teachers engaged in creative thought or approaching you with ideas, then you may need to begin working on “opening the road up” again.  It is ok to be cautious.  After all, you are responsible, but caution does not necessarily need to be synonymous with closing off the path to innovation.

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