Online Inspiration for the School Administrator Committed to Providing the Highest Quality Educational Leadership

#Leadership: If everyone is happy, then you’re not doing it right… – Dr. Justin Tarte

(Originally posted on Life as an Educator.)

By Dr. Justin Tarte

So, we’ve all heard the saying or a variation before…

‘If somebody isn’t upset with you, then you must not be doing anything.’

Leadership is one of those things that a lot of people think they are good at and think they understand. The reality is, leadership is wildly complex and is much easier said, than properly done.

By no means do I claim to be a leadership expert, but I do find the topic to be quite interesting and something of a hobby of mine.

Back to that saying we all know too well…

So, is it true that if somebody isn’t talking behind your back and questioning your judgement, then you must not be doing much?

I think there is a little truth to this saying, but like many things, I don’t believe it’s the whole truth.

Here’s the deal… sure, if you aren’t a mover and a shaker and if you aren’t the type of person to question what somebody says and aren’t willing to hold those with whom you work accountable, you might be able to keep the masses happy.

By avoiding difficult decisions and by failing to clearly outline your expectations and beliefs, you are able to skate around the ‘responsibility’ target which can keep the bullseye off your back.

However, I think this will keep most folks happy… but not all. And perhaps ‘happy’ isn’t the right word, because I honestly feel those folks have been lulled into a sense of complacency and contentedness.

The folks who are looking to leave their mark and make an impact, won’t be happy with this type of ‘hands-off’ leadership. These folks are looking for a leader with a vision who has the backbone to step up and take the organization to the next level. These folks thrive on progress and thrive on questing the status quo. These folks will overtime become quite frustrated with a laissez-faire approach and will eventually seek employment elsewhere.

Here’s the flip side though… if everyone is upset, then chances are you are doing too much and trying to micromanage everything.

Like many things, leadership requires a balance and that balance is constantly in flux. Make no mistake… leadership is much easier said, than properly done.

So, what do you think?



Dr. Justin Tarte is the Director of Curriculum & Support Services in the Union R-XI School District in Union, Missouri. He shares his insights on his website, Life as an Educator. Follow Dr. Tarte on Twitter at @justintarte.

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