In response to the posts addressing the lonely nature of leadership, a reader writes:
“If this is your first school turn around, hang in there and hold on. October and November, in my experiences, are the months when the push back starts to really build. By Christmas it can be incredible.
Stay the course. During the first week of my first high school turn around job, I met this character sent by the State Commissioner of Education. He says to me, “You know you’re going to get fired, don’t you?”
Needless to say I was caught off guard. He continued, “You can do nothing, let the school remain as it is, get no results, and they will fire you. Or, you can do what is right for kids, turn the school around, and you will make so many teachers angry that they will fire you. The only difference is what happens to you after you get fired.”
Later that same year, E. Don Brown points out to me that a primary reason for a school board to exist is to listen to the complaints of teachers. As usual, he was right (which I verified, the hard way). Acknowledge the push back, work to not gratuitously cause push back, and don’t give in to the push back. The only way I know of to fight hard core push back is to be a constant communicator of your vision. Even this will seem like aspirin for a gunshot wound, in some cases.
By the way, Cain was wrong. I didn’t get fired. A bigger district hired me before they had the chance.”
There are times that the only “win” is the ability to dictate the terms of your defeat. A diet of “moral” victories becomes stale, but it also provides just enough nourishment to try again (often in a new setting).
One of the many things that set the great leader apart from other leaders is the understanding of role and purpose. There are times that the correct long term play is utter short term ruin. The great leader doesn’t shy from that situation or decision. There is no “Remember the Alamo” if Travis does the prudent thing and abandons the fort to fight another day. When the choice is the betterment of your students vs. your current position, I won’t fault you if you take the easy path. But, I also won’t hail you as a hero.
Think. Work. Achieve.