Is Leadership Taking the Plunge?

Two interesting articles about the role of leadership in organizations.

First, is link to a story about Stephen Elop who took over the top spot at Nokia. Believing that Nokia needed to change quickly, he issued a memo to all employees of Nokia comparing the situation to a dire choice of – staying on a burning oil platform or jumping into the cold North Sea. http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/09/03/burning_platform_stephen_elop_comes_to_microsoft.html

Next, is an article about Jon Lewis, new schools chief of Richmond Public Schools, stating that improving the school system is complex and will require time. http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/local/education/city-schools-chief-improvements-will-take-years/article_a94c82ef-54bd-5dab-ab75-2ace31cc91ab.html

Both of these situations depict organizations that are facing the need for change. Both organizations are at a moment of truth. What is leadership? Is it communication that is shocking and scary about jumping or taking the plunge to something new. Or is it language that communicates understanding and knowledge that situations are complex and there is no such thing as a quick fix.

In education, we need to be careful that leadership is understanding complexity and not about scare tactics. Our clients are humans. Our spreadsheets are lives that are fulfilled or diminished. Leadership in education is about building relationships and understanding human capacity.

Let’s leave anecdotes about taking plunges to those stories about pools, diving boards, and cannonballs -summertime fun!

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