Fast Company Article, March 2000 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

"Want To Lead Better? Its Simple"

by Jill Rosenfeld

pages 58, 60

Fast Company, March 2000

Reflection by Jill Katrin

Jill Rosenfeld discusses Bill Jensens wisdom of what it takes to be a good leader. Jensen, 44, operates a consulting firm in Morristown, New Jersey. He works with big companies in developing strategies for change in the ever increasingly complex world in which we live. Jensons book, "Simplicity: The New Competitive Advntage in a World of More, Better, Faster," discusses the simple challenges of leadership. Jensen says, "Given just minutes, good leaders can affect how we think, what we decide, and ultimately, what we create."

Rosenfeld talked about how people struggle to make decisions because we live in a world of infinite choices. She also discussed that when people are exposed to change, a clear pattern of questions arise. Questions like: How is this change relevant to what I do? What, specifically, should I do? How will I be measured, and what consequences will I face? What tools and support are available? Whats in it for me? We look upon our leader to answer these questions. How a leader converses about these questions is critical to the success or failure to change. These conversations will greatly impact on what people do.

Rosenfeld discussed how most plans are organized and communicated according to marketplace logic. This is contrary to what people want to listen for. People listen for meaning and purpose. When discussing changes, a leader must consider: time commitment, recognition, guidance, caring, and assistance in new skills. "The role of a leader is to create an experience that will inspire people to take action," states Rosenfeld.

Rosenfeld also discussed how a leader needs to help people envision success. Success must include three measures: results, milestones, and what successful behavior looks like. Discussing how people devote their time and attention is important. "People need to have a clear picture of what all of their hard work has created, " says Jensen.

This article really got me to think about the leadership we have in the school I work in. Recently, our principal said she would be taking a year of sabbatica leavel. She said she was concerned about her replacement and wanted our input. This was a very emotional moment for all. Our principal is greatly respected because of the leadership qualities she has instilled. She handles issues and staff in a very professional manner. She is a wonderful listener, empathetic and concerned. Her dedication to promoting an environment to benefit all learners, has had a "snowballing" effect to all around her. Our schools positive environment and dedicated work ethic is due greatly to her leadership qualities. She will be missed!

What makes our leader be effective? Besides all the above personal qualities, she makes herself noticed throughout the school. She attends classroom morning meetings, monitors the lunch line, visits with students and staff on a regular basis. She holds a staff meeting with an organized agenda every Friday morning. Having a time to discuss success as well as areas of concern is provided during these meetings. She encourages a team effort in problem-solving issues. She encourages parent involvement. Familes have often commented on how they feel welcomed in our school. Our principal is also director of Special Education. I have often asked her what I could be doing differently in my classroom to help students with special needs.

In summary, I agree with Rosenfeld saying that a leaders attention comes in many forms from time commitment, to recognition, to guidance, to caring, and to assistance in new skills. All these forms have been recognized in our school principal. Her commitment of educational excellence has provided an environment of dedication and trust.

-- Anonymous, March 19, 2000

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