I blog about educational leadership, but the truth is leadership is leadership regardless the setting. Leaders are found in the classroom, on the football field, and in the pulpit. Leadership has always been intriguing to me. I have learned valuable lessons from some of the most unlikely people in areas outside of education.
I noticed that in the past couple of weeks, I have observed leadership issues around succession. A positive lesson was learned from a prominent pastor who began what seems to be a subtle succession plan. I have watched another leader in education who is very much ineffective and downright toxic. I have also watched a college football coach who has stayed a little too long at the post and has lost the team.
Observing the pastor was a welcomed sight and a great lesson in how to properly plan to turn the reigns over and take the time to mentor and prepare the successor for the role. Unfortunately, the other two examples are not positive. For the educator and the football coach, they both have had great successes in their careers and in their current organizations. However, at some point, their influence has waned. If they took the time to turn around and look behind them, they would realize that no one is following them. A leader without anyone following them is a man/woman simply taking a walk. These leaders have lost their followers and thus are ineffective.
The educator and the coach are filling a role in title, but the organization is not “winning”. They both are in a toxic environment, one in which they created. Most people in their organizations do not respect them and if the perfect opportunity should present itself, they would choose to follow someone else. These two people have failed to realize that it is time to move on and in return are killing their organizations.
Leaders must realize when it’s time to move on to their next challenge. This could be very difficult to accept, but is vitally important to their organization. Leaders must also understand that just because it’s time to move on doesn’t mean their career life is over. There are different seasons in our lives. The end of one could simply mean the beginning of another.
Paula Patterson is a former principal who shares practical points on the principalship.