Regardless of the position, when an individual accepts a school leadership role, he or she will be asked to manage others:
Superintendents manage principals and central office staff
Principals manage assistant principals and team leaders
Team leaders manage the rest of the team or department
“What? I need to manage others? I didn’t sign up for this.”
Yes, when we enter leadership we assume the responsibility of managing others.
“So what is management exactly?”
Patrick Lencioni provides insight on this important obligation in his book The Motive: “Managing individuals is about helping them set the general direction of their work, ensuring that it is aligned with and understood by their peers, and staying informed enough to identify potential obstacles and problems as early as possible.”
“Well that doesn’t sound too bad.”
Yes, it's not that bad.
Assuming everyone wants to be managed.
Unfortunately, new leaders quickly realize some people don’t like being managed. Getting employees to realize everyone needs to be managed - regardless of experience or expertise - is one of the most difficult leadership responsibilities.
Keep in mind that management is not micromanagement. Management is not a punitive activity or a sign of distrust. Management is about providing guidance and direction. The only people who call it micromanagement are employees who don't want to be held accountable.
As I spoke about in a previous article, my management leverage points are 1:1 meetings. These weekly meetings are an opportunity to touch base with each direct report to find out what is going on in his or her world. These conversations provide me with an opportunity to align each employee's actions, behaviors, and attitudes with the needs of our school district. This is also an opportunity to make sure little problems don't become big ones.
Some direct reports like these meetings. They look forward to having time to meet and to share ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Others do not like these meetings. They don’t like reporting to someone and feel like these meetings are a waste of time.
As leaders, we must continue to push forward and realize managing others is what we signed up for.
There is an old quote which says, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
Leadership has its perks: Increased power. More freedom. Better pay.
However, there are also demands that come with the position.
Do not ignore the duty of managing others.
Looking for another great book about managing others? Check out The Effective Manager by Mark Horsman.