Friday, November 30, 2012

School Administrators: Leadership or Management?

A recent meeting approached the topic of leadership in schools.  In that conversation, a wise participant shared his thoughts about the difference between leadership and management.  He also acknowledged that need for administrators to lead and manage schools.  Based on my studies, research, and practice, I would completely agree that there is a difference between leading and managing - and that effective school administrators do both.

Here are some more of my thoughts on the topic.

  • The culture and environment surrounding education is going through a dynamic adjustment.  Schools face pressures and competition from places that didn't exist 10 years ago.  It is not going to ever go back to what it "used to be" so schools need leaders who understand change.
  • As a mission that says everything actually says nothing, a vision without specifics cannot possibly inspire anyone to move forward.
  • The uncertain nature of where education is heading needs leaders who can thoughtfully examine a school's history, clearly understand a school's strengths and challenges, and prudently craft a relevant vision with a "target" firmly planted in a place where the school needs and wants to go.
  • A moving target is hard to hit.  A school's future goals should be crafted with care, thought, collaboration, and respect for institutional history and mission.  However, once set - leave the target alone.  Give people a chance to "get there" before looking for the next "target."
  • If you look at a school's hierarchy, is the person on top actively pushing others down or pulling them up?
  • Policies/procedures = Management
  • Empowerment = Leadership
  • Administrators who spend more time checking on compliance or answering questions concerning policy or procedure are not leading, they are managing.
  • Administrators who spend more time discussing how to get better, empowering others to deliver an enchanting classroom experience, and working to define their school's greater future are leading.
  • Filling out a teacher evaluation form is managing.  Providing guidance, support, and resources to help that teacher improve is leadership.
  • Prudent management is symbolic of an administrator's priorities, and therefore can be a form of leadership (symbolic).
  • Forward thinking leadership sets a course and motivates the team to all move in the same direction.  In this case, compliance on "how to get there" is usually not a significant problem.  Therefore, by default, you are effectively managing.
  • Effective leaders know when to lead and when to manage.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...