I’ve always thought I developed leaders well. One of the best ways to develop leaders is to let people figure it out for themselves. It doesn’t make it easier - I often find myself “just doing it” because that is the easiest way. But the people that I have let struggle with a problem are often in a better long-term position.
One of my professors, a seasoned principal in New York City, said she lived by a “always ask, never fix” philosophy. She didn’t tell people what to do, or make unreasonable demands. But she would ask her staff questions to think about an issue for themselves. She also didn’t just fix something; she asked her staff to fix problems. This isn’t a Laissez-faire type of approach, but a way of helping people build organizational strength.
I’ve been doing educational technology for over 10 years, and I am often the guy who “just does it” for the school. I understand this - especially because schools often lack institutional knowledge about IT. But as a leader, I’m interested in building strength in a building.
From a practical point of view, I think this is about:
1. Developing student technology teams that are empowered to actually fix stuff
2. Allowing faculty limited administrative access to machines to configure / setup level 1 and 2 issues
3. Looking at problems from a systems point of view
4. Making sure people with responsibility also have commensurate authority
5. Setting up a school for success - making sure systems, networks, and services work from an end-user point of view
6. Letting members of technology staff wrestle with problems and not jumping in to fix them
7. Perhaps this is the most important; make sure you have an atmosphere where risks are encouraged, people are not belittled, and there is an atmosphere of professional collegiality.
Published on Friday, December 18, 2009 (9 years, 2 months, and one week ago). Posted in: Educational Tech