The Lion and the Mouse

After 16 years in the profession and three educational leadership degrees later I have come to realize that some of the “education” I was sold at the graduate level for LOTS of money, may have been crap. Oh sure they go into depth about the “types” of leadership… transformational, transactional, bla, bla, bla. Yes, ok…. those are guidelines an administrator can use to help them shape themselves into a leader. Lets get real for a second. We need to speak in languages that accurately describe people and that all persons can understand. The universities are GREAT sales people and of course you should listen to what your professor and the text books teach. They are great “basic” foundations for your career. That’s about all I have gotten out of it. The real “teacher” is experience. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can teach you like living it can. However, in that real experience mode, I have given categories to the different types of administrators that I have had the privilege of working with.

  1. The Coach: This is my favorite type of administrator. Easy going, fun-loving, deeply genuine and caring about his or her teachers, but if you make a mistake they want you to learn from it, build upon it, and walk away with growth. Type of person that will give you a “what for” and then hug you.
  2. The BFF: This is one of my least favorite types of leadership personalities. The BFF can make you feel like a million dollars. When your in their presence you feel at home, you feel accomplished, and ten foot tall… they will let you do it wrong all DAY LONG… Why? They despise conflict with such abandon that you will be blindsided and shocked when you find out you have actually made a mistake. Problem is by then its too late.
  3. Jekell and Hyde: Not a fun leadership personality. Like the BFF they enjoy being well liked to the point that they go out of their way to make you feel at home and comfortable. Watch it… these leadership personalities come with a bite. Hyde can emerge at any moment most frequently when mistakes are made or the organization is made to look less than in someway. Or it could just be cloudy out side and suddenly….HYDE emerges. This is a very unpredicatable leader and often a toxic culture/climate accompanies this person.
  4. El’ Matadore’: Can you say “OLE!”? Again, a tolerable leadership personality but manipulative. Supportive and comforting on the surface they are great at distraction. You may think you are in good graces and then … “OLE!” Nope! You thought wrong. Very much like the Jekell/Hyde leader, this administrator is a master at manipulation and can draw you into just about anything. Take this one with a grain of salt. Much of what they say is not true and a fishing expedition to fit their needs.
  5. The Pitbull: Of all the leadership styles, this one is the most annoying. That’s the goal of this leader. To be annoying. They enjoy the chase and chaos. They actually enjoy breeding a toxic and hostile work environment. YES these people are out there! They are principals and leaders in the district! A combination of El’Matadore’ and Pitbull they have manipulated their way into position and are now in a place of bullying teachers to suit their needs. They are masters of manipulation and usually well versed on teacher contract issues. Probably because they are used to grievances. Just do yourself a favor, if you find yourself in the employment of a leader with the pitbull personality /leadership style….. transfer.

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