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Thoughts on Leadership from the Business World

April 8, 2010

I have heard the comment several times, and have even thought myself that one of the problems we are having with our national educational system is that we are treating education as a business not as a process.  I’m thinking that this needs to be clarified.  When I see the results of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) edicts, the picture that comes immediately to mind is “assembly line.”  There is nothing motivational about this for students or for teachers, who tend to be quite creative.  They have to be- every student learns differently.

However, I am finding, upon further research, that it is not necessarily considered good or effective practice to run a business in the way we are running our education systems at this time.  Now please know – I know there are individual schools out there managing to to create an empowering environment for both learners and educators.  That is quite rare, though.

Here is a thought I ran across recently that relates to this perspective.

The opportunity to do productive work in a humane organization, with clarity of direction is a privilege denied to many. And it is the most powerful motivating and self-esteem enhancing force known.  It also leads to bottom-line results.”  Robert P. Crosby from Walking the Empowerment Tightrope: Balancing Management Authority & Employee Influence

So, honestly, top-down edicts simply aren’t effective, not in the education world, nor in the business world.  An effective leader provides vision and direction, makes tough decisions when necessary, but also allows people to do what they do best in order to meet that vision.  There is much more to it, I realize.  However, I think this is some important food for thought when it comes to building a strong, effective educational system.  Students, Teachers, Administrators – all need to feel they contribute to the overall vision.

What are your thoughts?

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