Sunday, August 1, 2010

Why leading from the middle is the future, and why being compared to a pez dispenser is okay...

As education continues to evolve and change, it is necessary for our educational leaders to adapt and change as well. All too often we see schools and districts that lead with a top down approach. Even though this type of leadership has proven to be successful in certain circumstances, the level of effectiveness drops off over time and any future potential positive impact dissolves.

How can we change this? How can we get leaders to understand that in order to get substantial results for more than just a short period of time, it is going to require a new form of leadership? I know the concept is not new, and this idea is not earth shattering, so then why do we have so many schools and districts that are more similar to a dictatorship than a collaborative team working together for a shared common interest? We talk so much about getting students involved and a part of the process, so isn't it time we get teachers, staff, parents and community members involved? It takes time, energy, patience and dedication, but you can ask any educator who has a supportive and involving leader, and I can guarantee they will be more pleased with their job, as well as much more productive. In the world of education, more productive means having more meaningful and positive impacts on children, and isn't that what we are trying to accomplish?

The approach to leading from the middle is simple: A leader leading from the middle can reach and impact everyone. A leader leading from the middle can spread resources, ideas, suggestions and creative innovations in a much faster and efficient manner. A leader leading from the middle can facilitate the growth of other leaders by empowering people to share their own ideas and experiences. A leader leading from the middle is similar to a pez dispenser, because the leader should be popping out ideas and suggestions to anyone and everyone. Everybody loves pez dispensers, especially pez dispensers that are dispensing ideas and resources helping educators grow both personally and professionally. Nobody should be afraid of their leader, and I am not aware of anyone who is scared of a pez dispenser.

Let us encourage our leaders to spread their influence by empowering others to become their own leaders. Let us all start leading from the middle and begin dispensing pez to encourage a collaborative shared vision approach to education. True leadership will be most successful if it begins in the middle.  Providing resources and influencing others will always trump giving orders and dominating others. Please share your experiences and suggestions on leadership, and ways to improve the collaborative approach to education that is necessary for educators to succeed.  Here is a link to check out:

"The best leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower others to accomplish their goals." - anonymous