It’s back to school time and after a summer of graduate school, I’ve had a few days to reflect on what I do. There are things about being a leader at which I think I am quite good. I love being around the kids. They keep me young. Mentoring teachers to be the best they can be is a challenge that I enjoy. Reading about new trends and researching ideas for better schools and classrooms is kind of my nerdy hobby that I partake in through many different outlets like Twitter, Diigo and Scoop.it. Taking all of those ideas into the practical world of the school is rewarding for me.
There is one thing that I don’t think that I’m cut out for naturally and it causes me stress and anxiety. It is my professional goal for this year. This will come as a surprise to people that think that leadership is all about power. The one thing that is difficult for me is being the boss!
I’m not a fan of people looking up to me because of my position. I would prefer that people judge me and respect me based on my record and how I treat them or their child. I don’t want false respect that is triggered by my leadership role. I intend to prove to people that they can trust me and that I have earned their respect.
No matter, sometimes you have to be the guy that makes the tough decisions, you sometimes have to be the guy who tells people that aren’t doing a good job, you are going to be the guy who loses friends because of your decisions and you are going to have to be the guy that enforces the rules even when you don’t like the rules.
Those of you who know me well will understand why those things are difficult for me. We can talk about shared leadership or transformational leadership. We can talk about Theory X and Theory Y. We can go on and on about leadership in the 21st Century and the benefits of situational leadership. But in the end, one leadership trait never goes away. Some days you have to be the boss. Some days you have to switch into your big boy pants, enforce the rules and make the tough calls. That is the part of my job that I like the least.
In our school we have some fantastic teachers, we have some average teachers and we have some teachers who should move on. I enjoy mentoring teachers but there is a point where some teachers are not cut out for the job. They know it and I know it and sometimes you have to be the guy that tells everyone where the bear shits in the buckwheat.
So my goal for this year is to be more open to making the tough calls. To be the guy who is honest about the performance of teachers and staff. Be the man to make the difficult call to a parent who is also a friend or acquaintance and tel them what their kid is up to.
It’s time to be the boss.