Hearts & Minds, Not Widgets

Note: Thanks to the kind reader who sent me the correct link regarding the citation for this excellent infographic;

Pepperdine University – MBA Online – Successful Manager

This graphic I came across recently reminded me of a blog post by Seth Godin in which he talked about the different attributes required of a leader in any field where creativity is required. He talked of how you have to be willing and able to deal with people at an emotional level.

Amongst the things that sadden and frustrate me around schools in Asia is the frequency with which you come across the ‘victims’ and by-products of bad management. These people have too much fear to bring real, genuine creativity to their work. Often they are reluctant to even express an opinion or a point of view until they have been able to fathom exactly the ‘boss’s’ point of view – which of course now becomes there’s! These people, when promoted through years of service in to supervisory roles have mastered the fine arts of kissing up and kicking down. Result – they foster more compliant, outwardly obedient teachers who park their creativity, initiative, openness to new learning or belief in their ability to make a contribution outside the gate.

One simple question – in any school where the teachers and educators think like this are lead like this, expect to be lead like this, with this kind of school culture – how will the experience be for the children and parents? Do they stand a chance of getting an education that fosters their creativity, that inspires them to take initiative, to explore potential and indulge their curiosity?

I believe way too little attention is being paid to the way teachers are lead, the attributes and skills needed and professional development routes for those who choose to step up to roles in education leadership. It cannot be simply down to who wants to earn some more money and is prepared to be in school more hours a week. Education in which educators simply sell their time will always be incredibly poor education.

It’s time to get far more serious about how leadership is approached in education. Across schools I want to see less mindless rule setting, petty conservatism and far more passion, creativity, accountability through shared trust (instead of the blunt weapon of student assessment), open communication, continuous rigorous professional development and an inspiring ‘why’ that makes teachers wan to bring their hearts and minds to campus every day.

successful_manager

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4 Responses

  1. Well written Mark, if you go by the statistics 40% or more of the local school leadership is not inspirational, the working atmosphere is toxic and the teachers are reeling under its negative effects.
    In the present scenario the guiding question should be – Do we have it in us to recognize teacher leadership among the staff?
    The need of the hour is that school leadership should be able to recognize the power of teacher leadership, how to cultivate and promote the development of teacher leader.
    As educators when we are looking towards developing 21st century skills among students, it is important that the leadership in schools is definitely not be hierarchical ; communication is not a one way proposition. In fact we should be able to embed the habit of critically examining teaching-learning practices into daily work of schools. Michael Fullan conceptualized leadership as management of change, often such efforts require skills like initiating, institutionalizing and sustaining changed practices and/ or innovations.

    Are the school administrators training and empowering teacher to be the agents of change and be a leader in their own right?

    Do we have it in us to take Teacher Leadership forward?

  2. Hi Mark, I wanted to see if you might be willing to add a citation for the creators of this infographic? It was made by Pepperdine University, and if you would be willing to give them a credential reference for it, let me know and I will send it’s original location to you. Thank you!

  3. Hi there, I left a comment here a couple weeks ago about the original source for this infographic, but I never heard back from you. Would you be interested in citing them? Let me know, I’ll send you the URL.

  4. Hi again, I’ve left a couple of replys here regarding the citation of the infographic that you used here, but I still never heard back from you. I wanted to try you one last time to make sure you knew about it. Here is the original location if you do want to properly cite it. http://mbaonline.pepperdine.edu/successful-manager/

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