Leadership: Thinking About Support

As teachers, we often ask questions that we already know the answers to.  It is part of the planning process to anticipate what might be confusing and how we will navigate said confusion with questions to help students navigate through and ultimately come out the other side with a new sense of what they think, believe or even feel about a topic.

Next month, I begin the second year of the CLASS program at Hunter College facilitated by New Visions for Public Schools. I am studying to earn my SBL license.  As a result, I often find myself thinking about leadership and management.  Last night, I was sitting around with family.  Both my parents are now retired.  Some how we got onto the topic of: what makes a good manager.  I already knew the answer to the question I was going to ask, but I asked it any way.  What do you need from a manager in order to do your best work?

The first part of the answer I got was what I expected, because it is what I always want. It's about autonomy.  As employees, we want to be trusted to do the work we were hired to do because as managers or supervisors, we believe that you hired us because we are the best at what we do and that is why we are there to do it.  You would have hired someone else if that was not the case.  Micro-management undermines the relationship and leads to distrust and frustration, on both parts.  Employees, just like kids, need to have success and failure in order to grow and develop.  We need to be trusted to learn from our experience, reflect and evolve.

The second part of the response was a good reminder.  When I have a question, because there is something I may not know, or need clarification about, be available--as a manager, with an answer and a good one at that.  Even if the manager does not know how to do every job of every person working for them. (I am a big fan of collaboration and brining in people who are experts in their field to do the things that I can't.  This is how I learn and get better and as a teacher, how my kids learn!  This is why the arts has Professional Teaching Artists).  Being available and being a part of solving what ever the problem is ends up being good for the employee and even better for the company.

As I go into year two of thinking and learning about leadership and management, I will work to remember these two things because I already knew they were they answer, it's simply up to me to act on it.


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