It’s hard to argue with the abstract value of building more capable leaders, isn’t it? But what do we want our leaders to be able to do better – and why?
Effective leadership is not an end in itself. It cannot be identified – or defined – in a vacuum. It can only be assessed against meaningful organization results. But the reality is that in all organizations (including school districts) the further away we get from the “front lines” (work with students) the easier it is to lose sight of our overall purpose. When we get caught up in the immediacy and magnitude of current demands, priorities, and problems, the driving purpose of our organization and role can get overshadowed by the exigencies and demands of day-to-day operations. Sometimes, the further away we are from the classroom, the harder we have to work to maintain focus on our mission.
Can the value of a leaders’ work (e.g. solving problems, managing people and day-to-day activities) be adequately evaluated without measuring its impact on the bottom line – on results for students? Is it possible that we can competently perform all required leadership tasks – and even feel and be seen as a good leader – without making a difference for students? Unfortunately, when district, departmental, and individual goals, objectives and measures are not aligned and directed at results for students, it is possible.
Our founder, Ben Tregoe, used to say, “if we’re headed in the wrong direction, the last thing we need is to get there faster.” And conversely, when we’re headed in the right direction (when district, departmental and individual goals are aligned and aimed at positive student outcomes) we need to get there faster! High-quality leadership development can help.