A successful friend and entrepreneur, who I respect and admire, asked me today how I lead within a large educational organization. What was my philosophy?
I responded that it was an incredibly nuanced and contextual approach. Whilst I was a devout student of Kotter, I’d like to think my style incorporated an awareness of my own shortcomings as a leader and that I try and address these on a daily basis. At the same time, I recognize that I can’t be all things to all people, so in that sense I just try and be myself. The importance of having others around you that compliment your own skill set can not be underestimated. This is the essence of a highly functional team. To lead is to really cultivate this team, to grow and encourage those around you to ensure a diverse and skillful group of people.
I also have a relentless focus on the core business of a formal place of learning; learning. Not politics, not policy and not other perceived pressures, but constantly asking others around you “what’s the most important thing that we need to focus on?” That’s the non-negotiable. Learning. It should be the crux of all conversations and decision making within an educational organization. It definitely helps to have a co-constructed vision and to enable Departments within your setting to engage in co-visioning.
In the busyness of school it requires a sustained focus to maintain this vision, and the foundation of this focus has to be the people within your organization. Trying to physically show that you value everybody’s work isn’t always easy when driving change, but it is necessary.
Relationships allow you to achieve your goal of focusing on your core business. Learning.