Should one build on his strengths or shore up weaknesses? It’s the eternal question for a leader, or anyone for that matter. Finding an answer you can live with can be a worthwhile quest, whether you are a school district administrator or a custodian and all the different roles played in between. And, this blog entry is going to fall
The urgent whispers ask, “Do you have the answers to these questions? Provide them NOW!” or the insidious, “You didn’t really think you were good enough to do this job, did you? You’re just pretending, aren’t you?”
The second question–good enough to do the job–touches on a point that Dan Oestreich (Unfolding Leadership) writes about. I often wonder, do people who make utterances like the principal at the start of this blog entry ever ask themselves that question?
Yet, and this has also been the case, especially when I’ve watched clients over a longer period of time — and watched myself in the same way, too, I guess — the shifts people make through their growth over time don’t go against the natural style of their personality so much as they open up or “resolve” those styles. This happens in a way that the person naturally has more capability in exactly the places he or she would most like to grow...If we took the perspective that we do have a natural, internal learning curve, then it seems that we ought to pay more attention to that than simply pushing ourselves for adaptation that’s not likely to hold anyway.
When I reflect on that point–that we resolve or settle into those natural styles of our personality rather than fight against them–I’m worried that schools will never change given the crop of leaders. If a school administrator chooses to build on his or her strengths–and those don’t involve learning to use technology in a globally connected world that requires collaborative problem-solving from students–then what hope will students in that school have?
- Dresses well and “for the camera.” It’s the “wax the cabinet” instead of teach the kids because it needs to look good on the evening news when we feature this classroom.
- Makes decisions without consulting anyone and informs people AFTER the fact.
- Avoids learning new things, instead delegates those to others with greater aptitude.
- They accept orders without question and do what they are told.
- They can spout the latest leadership book psycho-babble and act like they care about it on Monday then switch to a different book by Friday.
- A real enthusiasm to manage well and do the tasks required.
- An excellent communicator who knows that collaboration with stakeholders makes the difference.
- A person who admits mistakes publicly, and
- Allows others to see him/her learning new things, while s/he
- Encourages others to learn.
Can you guess which quote in the movie clip, in less than 50 seconds, makes me the angriest? The end of The Best Man comes as no surprise to me. Is the best man the one who seizes the power, ruthless to consolidate it and use it as s/he sees fit, or the one who realizes that compromising one’s integrity and principles is not worth the effort?
It’s a question I’ve been struggling with. You?
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