Saturday, April 3, 2010

Are You A Great Manager?

This started out as another one of those "Top 10 Ideas For...." but I whittled it down to three, for your delectation.

This was distributed by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), see their website:
and originally appeared on  Edutopia    as "Ten Big Ideas of School Leadership" by middle school principal Mike McCarthy.

I'm pretty sure Mike is pretty much on track, and his take on leadership is motivational and instructive for leaders or wannabe leaders in any organization. A few samples:

6) Take Responsibility for the Good and the Bad
If the problems in your school or organization lie below you and the solutions lie above you, then you have rendered yourself irrelevant. The genius of school lies within the school. The solutions to problems are almost always right in front of you.

I think of it this way: If you think only the folks below you are causing all the problems, and you also think only the guys above you can fix ‘em, what does the boss or your subordinates need you for?

7) You Have the Ultimate Responsibility
Have very clear expectations. Make sure people have the knowledge, resources, and time to accomplish what you expect. This shows respect. As much as possible, give people the autonomy to manage their own work, budget, time, and curriculum. Autonomy is the goal, though you still have to inspect.

I think of it this way: Be the boss, mostly by setting the tone, setting the example, sometimes setting the boundaries, setting the aiming stake in the right place, setting the time for the next team meeting, setting the “But We’ve Always Done It This Way” rule book on fire, etc………..and every so often check to make sure that nobody has set the factory on fire….

9) Consensus is Overrated
Twenty percent of people will be against anything. When you realize this, you avoid compromising what really should be done because you stop watering things down. If you always try to reach consensus, you are being led by the 20 percent.

I've found that most students--and most folks--usually think that “consensus” means that everyone has to agree. No, no, no. I embrace the idea that “consensus” means that every member of the group either stout-heartedly endorses the idea or at least acknowledges that she can live with it and support it as a reasonable alternative to her own favored decision/plan/concept. And yes, it’s true that sometimes the group or the boss must say to the high-principled or defiant holdout: “we respect your view and your input, but we’ve talked it through, we’re gonna do it a different way, and you need to support that.”

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2010 All rights reserved.

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