Managing vs. Leading? – Actually they’re both important.

Update for Nov 2-6

Labeled for Reuse

Many leadership articles and books like to compare leadership styles to draw out the pros and cons of each.  One comparison in particular resonates with me as a elementary principal: The Manager vs. The Leader.

The manager is the person who is detailed-oriented and tends to micromanage projects or the development of ideas.

The leader motivates people through vision, often working towards a shared vision.

As a principal, I strive to be more of a leader than a manager.  That’s often a challenge given all of the tasks a principal must manage – schedules, budgets, evaluations, data, to name a few.  But I work to find a balance that tips towards leadership and away from managing. 

On a big scale, I think it’s important for me to be able to articulate certain details about projects and initiatives that are apart of our shared vision for how we will support kids.  I know I can’t just be an “idea person” and leave the details up to everyone else to figure out.  Brenda Power wrote about this in the October 31st “Big Fresh” newsletter from Choice Literacy:

“There’s no real vision without the tedium of working through the details. You can have a wonderful idea, but it’s only when you dig in to implement the plan that you discover there’s no bridge between steps M and N, or even steps B and C.”

I think what Power is talking about is the need to blend the visionary with the detail-oriented. 

My struggle comes when people turn to me for details I feel like I should know because it’s just more professional.  “What time does 1st grade recess end?” or “When are we having that meeting again?” are questions whose answers I should have but don’t always have.  This is something I am working on and trying grow into.  

I’ve reevaluated my stance on managerial leadership especially after reading part of The Principal by Michael Fullan. Fullan argues that a principal has to be a good manager, too.  If principals manage well, then they create the time they need to also be instructional leaders.

This also makes me think about two of my heroes, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and how they lead change.  Both were visionaries who revolutionized music, but both were also great managers in that they focused on the details.  

When they worked the White Album, Lennon and McCartney both shared how they were using their producer less and less to make the songs they wanted to create because they were more familiar with the details of music production.  They had become great visionaries who knew how to work with the details.

Just like teaching, I am constantly evaluating how much I need to facilitate through leading and empowering others to make decisions and how much to I need to intervene. 

As we work to re-define the elementary learning experience, I am stepping up and owning the ideas I have to help move us forward.  I am excited to dig in and get my hands dirty in making our vision come to life.

Have a GREAT week!


Articles Worth Reading

Are Learning Styles Real – and Useful? | Edutopia

Video Worth Seeing (especially if you are a Beatles fan…)

Upcoming Dates

Nov 2 – PTO Meeting, 7pm

Nov 3 – Hilliard U Day! – Darby HS; No School for students

Nov 4 – Staff Meeting, 8am Media Center; KG Data Team ½ Day
*BIT Meeting moved to next Tuesday (Nov 11)

Nov 5 – Steering Committee Meeting, Noon-3:30pm at CO

Nov 6  — Board Tour of ADE (AM), BAC if needed

Nov 10 – 1st Grade Data Team Day; Picture Make-up Day

Nov 11 – BIT Meeting, 8am; 2nd Grade Data Team Day; Special Ed Team Meeting, 12:30; IAT Team Meeting, 3:30, Board Meeting, DCR, 7pm

Nov 12 – -3rd Grade Data Team Day; “Making Math Personalized” w/ Donna Farland-Smith (DCR Media Center, 3:40); HEF Dinner

Nov 17 – Team Connection Time w/ Herb, if needed

Nov 18 – 4th Grade Data Team Day

Nov 19 – -5th Grade Data Team Day

Nov 20 – End of 1st Grading Period

Nov 25-27 – No School, Thanksgiving Holiday

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