Leadership · Gregory Pittman

Leadership


Currently reading: You’re It: Crisis, Change, and How to Lead When It Matters Most by Leonard J. Marcus, Eric J. McNulty, Joseph M. Henderson, Barry C. Dorn 📚


Necessary and Meaningful

Meta-leaders craft the unifying mission for an array of different constituencies. They build a compelling narrative and create conditions that animate shared values, motivating goals, and each participant’s view of himself or herself as a necessary and meaningful contributor. Meta-leaders know that optimal progress does not happen on its own. Someone must see the opportunity and engage others to see it as well.1

In education, there is often a disconnect between teachers and administration. This disconnect is not intentional by any means, but it happens. It is vital that teachers feel they are necessary and meaningful contributors to their school’s success. Too often, teachers feel as though they are hourly workers at the fast-food restaurant up the street. “If you don’t include every aspect of this model in every class, learning cannot take place.” And with this one declaration, a 37-minute YouTube video was meant to replace an entire faculty’s collective education and teaching experience. Of course, no one really intended for the video to overshadow the training and expertise of a highly-skilled faculty, but that was the message the teachers perceived.

A school’s success lies within the commonalities among the administration, the faculty and staff, and the students. Administrators must make every effort to communicate to teachers that they are necessary and meaningful contributors to the school’s—and their students'—success, and not merely employees carrying out instructions from their supervisors.

1You’re It: Crisis, Change, and How to Lead When It Matters Most by Leonard J. Marcus, Eric J. McNulty, et al. https://a.co/8b4CNO0

Vinn diagram demonstrating showing a school's success lies within the commonalities among the administration, the faculty and staff, and the students

The Catalyst of Success

I have argued that it is not the role of a team to make its leader look good. It is the role of the leader to make the team look good. The leader must provide every resource and opportunity for the team to succeed in its tasks. This theory is corroborated by the developers of Harvard University’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative.

Meta-leaders appreciate that to gain the commitment and loyalty of subordinates, they must first be committed and loyal to them. When “you’re it” for people who call you “boss,” the first question should be, “How can I make each of you a success?” If the people you supervise succeed, then you are much more likely to succeed in what you’re all trying to accomplish together.

You’re It: Crisis, Change, and How to Lead When It Matters Most by Leonard J. Marcus, Eric J. McNulty, et al. https://a.co/4QBtG78


The Role of Leadership

It is not the role of the people we lead to make us look good. It is our role as leaders to make them look good. That is, our role as leaders is to provide every resource and opportunity our team needs to succeed in its tasks.

“No one in any position of rule, insofar as he is a ruler, seeks or orders what is advantageous to himself, but what is advantageous to his subjects… It is to his subjects and what is advantageous and proper to them that he looks, and everything he says and does he says and does for them.”

Plato (as cited in Ciulla, 2003)

We would do well in education to understand this.