Friday, August 12, 2011

Challenging leadership

I can remember talking with an educational leader about a policy. I expressed concern that the policy was taking us in a direction that some teachers, including myself, had concerns over.

The response to this was a kind of denial. This educational leader went on to profess that they hadn't heard any concerns, objections or feedback that would suggest that teachers had concerns. Leaders sometimes respond to feedback in two ways.

Option A:
Why haven't I heard any of this?
Option B:
Why, I haven't heard any of this!
Grammatically, the differences are subtle, but the implications for ending one statement with a question mark (?) and the other with an exclamation mark (!) play out like night and day. The former is an honest attempt to find unknown answers to uncomfortable questions; the latter is nothing more than the verbal version of plugging your ears and saying "la la la la la".

If you are a leader and you can't remember the last time someone challenged you...

If you are a leader and you can't remember the last time you were wrong...

... you might want to stop what you are doing and figure out why that is because the day the people who work under you stop being honest with you is the day you no longer lead them.

The best leaders never mandate optimism, always openly and actively seek dissent and continually surround themselves with trusted naysayers.

2 comments:

  1. The article you have presented has riddled out intricate structure of leadership into a simple structure. I hope other also understand the effectiveness of this article as well!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You might also find this interesting Joe:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2011/04/25/is-reasoning-built-for-winning-arguments-rather-than-finding-truth/

    ReplyDelete

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