Can Leaders Be Developed?
The old saying that leaders are born, not made is simply not true. The fact is that independent schools usually have to develop their own leaders at every level of the institution. And that’s where Concentrics can help. Concentrics provides an enriching, customized development process for all levels of school leadership, with the intent of helping leaders transfer leadership to the faculty, staff and students they direct and support. Our approach involves understanding the individual, group and system dynamics adequately to support sustainable, positive change.
The most important task of leadership is emotional. Research shows emotional intelligence to be the differentiating factor between average leaders and great leaders. Great leaders move us by igniting our passion. Leaders who “resonate” with their people through empathy and emotional connection inspire others to do their best work. And it is possible to learn not only to recognize our own feelings and the feelings of others, but to become skilled at managing those emotions in others–and ourselves!
Sizing up the Situation
Concentrics’ process of developing leadership starts with an examination of the mission, strategic goals and core values of the institution. Guided by these criteria, Concentrics evaluates the leader, either by employing targeted assessment tools or by completing a series of probing interviews aimed at understanding the leader’s strong points and the issues that impact his or her success. We talk to the leader’s superiors to identify relationships, strengths, gaps and desired outcomes. We also listen and learn from the faculty, staff, and, when appropriate, students and families whom these educational leaders direct and support.
Analysis and Recommendations
In analyzing the assessment findings, Concentrics looks for patterns of behavior that characterize the individual or the school organization as a whole. A detailed, written Executive Report is prepared that examines the interplay between leadership behaviors and the culture of the school and is presented to the leader’s superior in a face-to-face meeting. The Report also prioritizes crucial issues, and offers concrete recommendations for action plans to strengthen leadership on an individual and/or organizational level.
Resonating Leadership Can Be Learned
Armed with insights from the assessment, leaders start a self-directed learning program that intentionally strengthens “who you are” and “who you want to be” as an individual, and as a leader. A set of stable, legitimate coaching objectives is agreed to and an individual coaching program established involving private coaching sessions over a six-month time frame, with checkpoints along the way to confirm progress and address unanticipated issues. At the end of the six-month period progress is assessed and it is determined whether additional coaching would be of value.
By gaining increased self-awareness and learning specific skills for leading, participants learn how to become resonant leaders, start moving on that path themselves, and learn to coach others toward resonance. The school benefits from having a cadre of leaders who are more adept at managing themselves and their relationships for success. Their new coaching skills enhance their ability to lead others and increase the school’s leadership capacity.