Leadership & relationships
Leadership is all about relationships. Unless this truth is recognized, no real and sustainable changes will be implemented. The first thing to do to break this cycle, as the authors hinted, is to acknowledge the value of each staff – whether in the teaching position or not. Leaders have to recognize the human capability of his staff members. In my case, our school leaders must recognize the contribution of teachers and staff in the over-all success of the school. They must be rewarded or given incentives for every creative idea presented for the improvement of school.
There must also be career development department which seeks to empower and equip teachers on their profession. From time to time, teachers must be affirmed. The second thing is to re-structure the organizational work relationship. The school authorities must acknowledge a partnership kind of working relationship in the school. Those who are in the leadership must decide that they need to have the inputs of the teachers. The third is to conduct regular meetings where teachers and other staff of the school are consulted. It must be creative meeting where everyone is consulted on every issue.
The meetings must be designed in a very participatory and exciting way. My fourth suggestion is to have school mechanism for open communication or feedback. This may be difficult but at least a policy for instituting open and honest communication among students, teachers, staff and the school leaders. I believe that open communication opens up many opportunities for deeper understanding. It is also one best way in solving problems as communication gaps are eliminated. Assumptions are addressed and everybody’s feelings and perceptions are considered.
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My own experiences tell me that most organizational problems are little dilemmas which blew up because of miscommunication. Often, the closed type of communication between the leaders and the members is the culprit. This is one basic yet common problem which has to be resolved soonest. Open communication may also mean transparency and accountability. My fifth suggestion boils down to instilling ownership among the members of my school. The purpose or vision of the school must be inculcated in the hearts and minds of every stakeholder. A clear vision gets the whole team going.
A teacher must be affirmed that he or she is part of the vision; that his or her contribution is very vital in achieving the vision. It must be stressed that pushing for the vision is a collective work; no one can make it alone. Ownership of the vision leads to greater participation and accountability of the work. My last suggestion has to do something with individual attitude and that is, respect. A school should reinforce the virtue of respect. When respect is present, individual ideas and feelings are accepted and somehow understood. Respect also affirms the individual value and dignity.
For a whole operation to run smoothly and harmoniously, respect must be upheld. However, I am not suggesting of too much respect that borders on being silent or passive on certain issues. Again, one has to speak up his mind but in respect to his fellows and to the organization. Conclusion The heroic kind of leadership is not effective. The concept of shared leadership must be embraced by organizations. It is an empowering kind as individuals are given opportunities to participate in planning, decision-making and problem solving. However, learning and unlearning takes time.
For an organization to accept another paradigm, it would take lots of courage to open up, accept failures and blame, own the consequences, and move on. But doing so my bring healing to the organization and the people involved. The decision to change paradigm might be drastic but it is better to take risk than to stay broken, disunited and warring stakeholders of the organizations.
Bradford, D. L. and Cohen, A. R. (1998). ‘The Leadership Trap’ in Power Up: Transforming Organizations Through Shared Leadership. John Wiley & Sons: New York, pp. 3-19.