Leadership & Business: How Much Is In Common With Education?

Many times I have sat in school faculty meetings that usually come at the end of the school day and wondered how teachers are able to sit somewhat quietly and follow directions. Every one of those teachers operated in a classroom where he or she led students throughout the day. Sitting quietly and waiting for someone to tell them what to do and how to do it without requesting their input and expertise must have been challenging, unless, of course, the information offered was outside of their daily operations.

So, today, when I came across Hall’s blog post on leadership, I thought to myself that if you replace the word “leader” with “teacher,” “meeting” with “classroom,” and “team” with “students” the message still makes sense. Take a look for yourself: http://4thgearconsulting.com/blog/?p=820 The blog is “It’s Time to Lead: Change Is Optional, Success Is Not Mandatory” by Randy Hall. In this entry, “Leadership Lessons From a Five Year Old,” Hall talks about how successful leaders focus on how to best help others improve. He finds that in his own daily activities with his son that he should utilize this same focus.

Is this not what successful teachers do daily?  They focus on how to help every student improve in their learning, behavior, attitudes, or any area that might hold the student back from making progress for that particular student’s academic achievement. That is a tall order. Yet, teachers do this everyday for every student that they are able to reach. This does not mean that every student is a willing participant in the endeavor, which makes the leadership role of the teacher more challenging. However, successful teachers look for ways to continue growth and improvement for their students.

By reading Hall’s blog entry, he provides one sure way in how teachers may say that they perform in the classroom like successful business leaders do when they enter a meeting. The main difference is that business leaders most likely do not have the mandatory number of student groupings, schedules, and budgets that classroom teachers work with to meet the requirements set forth by the local, state, and federal levels. Such oversight will never allow schools to operate as businesses. We should be careful when we try to apply business principles or models to schools. Of course, we are able to find common ground as I have here. Yet, the manner in which the two operate as a whole are entirely different.

Is it the difference in how schools and businesses operate where some of the problems lie in preparing and educating students to function in the business world?