Friday, March 13, 2009

how would they know?

Leaders teach.

I could finish this post with those two words, but I will continue and expound an what I mean by "leaders teach."

Why is it that so many of us expect people to come into any position knowing exactly what to do? Let's begin with students - should we expect them to know how to write a formal research paper...or to work effectively in teams...or to think critically...or to make an effective presentation? So many of my colleagues gripe and moan that students are not able perform the above tasks when they come to college. Maybe instead of griping, we should engage in teaching these aaspects of what it means to be a student...because leaders teach.

We often look at new hires and wonder why they can't perform basic tasks or duties...or why reports aren't written in a certain style...or why they don't understnad the importance of being on time...or why they don't dress professionally...or ___________________ (you fill in the blank with your favorite pet peeve). For the majority of the people, it's because they have not yet learned how to act in a professional manner. So instead of griping about our new hires, let's teach them how to be professional...because leaders teach.

What about college faculty? I hear fellow administrators (both at my school and at other places) talk about how faculty act in meetings...or how they don't engage students in the classroom...or how they fail to provide adequate assessment for classes or programs...or how they _____________________ (again, you get to fill in the blank). I believe with all my heart that no faculty member wants to do a bad job on any aspect of their calling. People want to do the right thing and want to be recognized for doing the right thing. But how can someone do the right thing if they do not know what the right thing is - or how to accomplish the right thing? Our job as leaders is to teasch them get to that point...because leaders teach.

So who are you teaching today? Think back to the past 24 hours - who or what have you griped about? Do they need teaching? Maybe they know what to do but do not understand your expectation? Maybe they do not know how important it is to act/behave/perform in a given manner. Why don't we commit to teaching them something...because leaders teach.