Last week I read a blog post by Deborah Mills-Scofield on Switch & Shift called Are You Just a Leader or a Just Leader? Like many of the business leadership blog posts out there, it applies to teaching too. In fact, after reading it, I went back and reread it replacing “leader” with “teacher,” and “people” and “customer” with students. This left me with a great blog post, about management teaching.
Here’s some of the post, through an educator lens:
Being a leaderteacher requires taking the right road, not the easy road. Treating ourpeoplestudents fairly requires judgment, subjectivity, and clear communication of expectations and goals on an ongoing basis since the world around us changes all the time. When we treat our peoplestudents equally but not fairly, we tell peopleour students it’s ok to underperform and under contribute undermining the morale of our dedicated and passionate peoplestudents and are then surprised when we get mediocre output and outcomes.
What if we modify the culture to recognize peoplestudents fairly, based on their work, effort, passion, and results – as individuals and teams? We will be surprised to see the positive difference it will make.
I versus You
…I often ask my corporateeducator colleagues if focusing on ‘I’, on themselves, has really gotten them the career satisfaction they sought. As leadersteachers, we need to help our peoplestudents focus on the “You” – the customerstudent, the recipient of our services and products and you the employee. If we honestly ask ourselves who matters more, ‘I’, ourselves or ‘You’ our customers and peoplestudents, what is our answer?
A true leaderteacher is a servant who leads. So, is the businesseducation about our needs or the needs of ‘others’? Are we really focused on delighting our customersstudents (to quote my friend Steve Denning), which means we will delight our peoplestudents because they are working on meaningful, purposeful solutions to real needs (outcomes) that result revenues and profit (outputs)in learning that can be reinvested in the delighting our customersapplied to their lives? Or, are we doing this for the next perk, the accolades from our peers, the prestige from our position? I’m not suggesting total altruism (though that’s not a bad idea!), but I am suggesting we ponder why we’re leadingteaching and whom we’re leadingteaching – is it about ‘I’ or about ‘You’? Can we really leadteach if it’s about us? Would we want to be ledtaught by someone who was all about himself? Does our leadershipteaching truly reflect our why and who? If someone asked one of our peoplestudents who mattered to us, ‘I’ or ‘You’, what would they answer?
As we approach the middle of 2013spring, ask yourself two questions: do you treatpeoplestudents equally or fairly (or both) and does your leadershipteaching, hence your classroom culture, value ‘You’ over ‘I’?