To lead in today’s schools, organizations, business, communities and civic groups is different than in “days gone by”. Leaders need to be able to develop others, effectively interact (think together) with others, help others to see and embrace the vision or direction of the organization and support others as they become more and more valuable in serving the constituents of the organization.
School leadership would encompass this kind of work developing teachers, administrators and all others connected with the school, effectively think together with these people and others, helping all of these people to create (recreate), see and embrace the vision or direction of the school district [this will likely focus on each and every students clearly and measurably benefiting from his or her school experience] and supporting all of these people as they become more and more effective at insuring that each and every student benefits from school. Schools are for learning and learning is how students should be benefiting.
Today’s school leader must work with others in adaptive ways and with humility. Obviously, it will be others who will insure that each and every student learns – not the leader. This array of leadership responsibilities is different than the ‘command and control’ leadership many people think of when they think of effective leaders.
Bill George writes: “The hierarchical model simply doesn’t work anymore. The craftsman-apprentice model has been replaced by learning organizations, filled with knowledge workers who don’t respond to “top down” leadership. Seeking opportunities to lead, young people are unwilling to spend ten years waiting in line. Most important, people are searching for genuine satisfaction and meaning from their work, not just money.
In the 21st century the most successful leaders will focus on . . . aligning people around mission and values and empowering leaders at all levels, while concentrating on serving customers and collaborating throughout the organization.
Aligning: The leader’s most difficult task is to align people around the organization’s mission and shared values, which is far more challenging than making short-term numbers.
Traditional leaders thought they could solve this problem with rulebooks, training programs and compliance systems, and were shocked when people deviated. Aligned employees commit to the mission and values of the organization, and want to be part of something greater than themselves.
Empowering: Hierarchical leaders delegate limited amounts of power in order to retain control. In contrast, 21st century leaders empower leaders at all levels, combined with sophisticated accountability systems to ensure commitments are met.
Serving: Any organization that doesn’t provide its customers with superior value relative to competitors will find itself going out of business. Satisfied customers and motivated employees are key to sustaining revenue growth and, ultimately, shareholder value.
Collaborating: Collaboration — within the organization and with customers, suppliers, and even competitors — is required to achieve lasting solutions. Leaders must foster this collaborative spirit, eliminating internal politics and focusing on internal cooperation.
The ultimate measure of effectiveness for leaders is the ability to sustain superior results over an extended period of time. Organizations filled with aligned, empowered and collaborative employees focused on serving customers will outperform hierarchical organizations every time. Top-down leaders may achieve near-term results, but only authentic leaders can galvanize the entire organization to sustain long-term performance.”