Listen, it can be lonely in leadership especially if you are doing it wrong. In their book Leading With Soul Bolman & Deal (2001) write, “Authorship is rare in most organizations…Despite efforts across corporate America to increase participation and enhance the quality of the work, tens of thousands of people still see their work as just a job.” (p.110) Leadership that is top down is a lonely enterprise. We cannot lead by crushing others under expectations and waiting for them to fail. Sometimes, as leaders we carry anxiety because we feel responsible for the people in our charge be they a classroom of students or a building of teachers. Because we feel unsure of our capabilities (imposter syndrome) or underprepared for the work, we are overly exacting in an attempt to seem in control. The truth is it backfires time and again.
Bolman & Deal (2001) also write, ” Trusting people to solve problems generates higher levels of motivation and better solutions. The leader’s responsibility is to create conditions that promote authorship. Individuals need to see their work as meaningful and worthwhile, to feel personally accountable for the consequences of their efforts, and to get feedback that lets them know the results.” (p.112) They wrote that fifteen years ago and it still rings true today. If you want to move your teachers or students from viewing their work as “just a job” you have to be sure what they are doing is meaningful, that they are held personally accountable for the results, and that you follow up with them to let them know the results of their efforts. In doing so, you create a climate of trust and ultimately build your team.
There is no magic place to find people who work easily with you and just like you. The truth is , there is value in disagreement.
You have to purposefully BUILD the team that you would like to be on.
Here are a couple of TED TALKS to get you started
“I took management classes. I got a management degree. I got a job in management. So what did I try to do? I tried to manage people. I was never taught the awesome responsibility that leadership has over the lives that are influenced by my leadership.” – Bob Chapman (below)
“We have to plan to be leaders. We have to plan to matter to the world.”- Drew Dudley (below)
Remember, to lead is to constantly learn and while others may not tell you the truth, I always will. You have to build the team you want to be on. They do not just appear. If you find yourself alone in leadership, take a look at the amount of time you are spending serving your team. – Dr. Kia