Do You Follow The Leader?

How many school staff just play the game of ‘follow the leader’?

Following a senior leadership team mindlessly (or just letting them ‘get on with it’) is a dangerous thing for schools because this is stifling and staff aren’t working at their full intellectual capacity.

Senior leaders need challenging.

Schools can’t be run like old military organisations where staff follow orders.

The leader-follower compliance model breeds failure in a school.

David Marquet’s book Turn The Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers Into Leaders suggests we “give control” and adopt a leader-leader structure using the following guiding principles: 

1. Initiative

Initiative means we take action without direction from above to improve our knowledge, prepare the [submarine] for its mission and come up with solutions to problems.

With each member of the command taking initiative the leverage is immense. Initiative places an obligation on the chain of command not to stifle initiative in subordinates.

2. Empowerment

We encourage those below us to take action and support them when they make mistakes.

We employ stewardship delegation, explaining what we want accomplished and allow flexibility in how it is accomplished

3. Integrity

Integrity means we tell the truth to each other and to ourselves. It means we have a grounded base of reality and see things as they are, not as we want them to be.

Integrity means we participate fully in debriefs, allowing improvements based on facts.

Rather than delegate responsibilities, Marquet helped his submarine crew develop their own proactivity and ownership.

And one more thing…..

David Marquet warns us against using the language of continuous improvement because “this tends to overdrive the process. Improvement happens in batches, in increments, after studying a stabilized process.”

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