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Patterns of School Leadership

The bricks of an organization are its people; the mortar that binds them together the leaders’ skills. In many respects, managing people is no different from managing one’s resources. It requires set goals towards which one can direct one’s activities. Likewise, an understanding of one’s situation, in relation to that goal and the available resources including a realistic plan to reach his target and a knowledge of the people who work with him.

Why is one man or woman successful as a leader, while others fail? Formerly it was thought that the successful ones were those who possessed certain traits or qualities which were easily identifiable for all to see. Recently, a school of thought was developed which believes that leadership is a form of behavior that helps the leader maximize the resources in his environment and the talents of people in the organization. No doubt, leaders possess both these qualities as well as the ability to put them to use. This combination is the key to success for those who would be school managers.

Successful leaders in an organization have a progressive attitude towards change. They are committed to change and encourage it among subordinates because they realize that only the organization that changes will grow and prosper. And never will these organizations go back to the basics.

Successful leaders hire knowledgeable men. Experts and specialists should always be welcome.

By leading some groups and participating as a member of other groups, he assumes a mobile position in his organization.

He encourages group discussions as a means of dealing with problems and tries to include in the discussions all those who will participate in making the final decisions.

He gives orders that clearly state who is to do what, when and how.

He responds to the needs of his staff by offering recognitions. He praises them and shows genuine interests in whatever interest them. By highlighting his interest and confidence in others, he helps them grow in their work.

He helps when help is needed, so that his subordinates respond and are efficient and productive.

He keeps his head in emergencies and in managing crises. If he were to fall apart, those looking up to him would come to fear crises and emergencies, thus confidence in him is lost.

He knows and obeys all the rules that he expects his people to follow. If he didn’t, they would be distrustful of him.

He makes decisions and acts on them and he also allows others to make decisions. He is careful not to smother initiative among his people/

He will not accept poor performance, he offers constructive criticism to all whose work is not up to par.

He tries to put the strength of his people together to complete all projects as speedily and efficiently as possible.

He will expect differences of opinion from his people and will encourage them to think rather than to be “yes” men.

He is willing to take a risk. Risk-taking is an important part of leadership and management. The successful leader is willing to act rather than to wait and procrastinate.

He uses proper channels to reach all employees. These channels may be formal-such as acting through standard operation procedures or informal through casual conversations or dialogues.

He maintains discipline by his own actions and by getting other personnel to show disapproval of rules breakers. He never condones people who get out of the way.

He has the skill necessary to be a good listener, to find out exactly what is going on, to spot possible trouble and to show his interest in all those working with him.

He seeks to involve his people in decisions which affect them so that he can build up mutual trust and obtain their support for his plans and actions. Participative decision-making is adhered.

He initiates actions by deciding what must be done, when to do it and who will do it. Involvement is the keyword.

Few leaders can behave in all of these ways all the time. We can, however, seek to acquire the necessary qualities and follow as many of the behavior patterns as possible. Then we are well on our way to success as leaders of our subordinates.

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