Anyone who has been a leader for more than a couple of weeks would agree that leadership is a complex and challenging role. Being a successful leader is like being an award-winning juggler. Leadership is juggling everything, striking the right balance as not to break any of the fragile things in your juggle.
Because leadership has always been intriguing to me and because I’ve served in leadership roles as far back as middle school, I observe leaders. I’ve watched the intricacies of leadership. I’ve watched various leaders in various fields. One thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes we get off track with our leadership and focus on the wrong things. Remember, leadership means there are people following you… people for which you are responsible. The one thing you should not be is a dictator. Leadership is intensely challenging enough by nature, why add to the challenge?
Leaders sometimes make decisions that put more on them than is necessary. Some decisions cause more strife and conflict than it’s worth. Just because we can impose rules and regulations, doesn’t mean we should in some areas. Below are a few examples of rules we impose that may add more discord/conflict to our already challenging role of leadership.
Assigning seats for meetings serves what purpose? If you need different groups sitting together for activities, then it is worth assigning seats. If you do not, is it worth upsetting the audience by dictating where they sit? If they are upset or uncomfortable with the seating arrangement, will they be able to receive the information you are presenting? Is having them upset and not receive the information worth you telling them where to sit?
No Device Rule
As a PD person, it used to drive me crazy for people to be on their phones or computers during training. Instead of telling people to pay attention, I began working to make my sessions more engaging. I learned that as I engaged them, they didn’t have time to be on devices. I could have told them no devices and upset them and risk their learning, or I could have chosen to find ways to gain their attention. I chose the latter.
When thinking about imposing a new rule or regulation, decide whether it is worth the backlash. Don’t add more challenges to an already challenging role.
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Paula Patterson is a Superintendent of Schools who shares practical points on leadership.