Stalwarts 2022

Education Stalwarts 2022 | Veena.G, Director – Jain Public School | Leaders in Education

If you want to lead, start with a vision is what I learnt from my role model Dr Chenraj Roychand, Chairman, JGI.

Every successful leadership position requires the leader to articulate an organizational vision.  A good leader can identify, communicate, or strategically define a vision, which when missing, can result in organizational stagnation and institutional confusion.  In contrast, working towards a clearly defined vision can create educational opportunities that not only benefit students but give the institution considerable recognition.  A true visionary will achieve his/her goals through clear focus and initiatives.

When Alice, in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, came to a fork in the road, she found the Cheshire Cat sitting in a tree and asked, “Which road do I take?”  The Cheshire Cat replied, “Where do you want to go?”  Alice responded, “I don’t know.”  And the Cheshire Cat said, “Then it doesn’t matter.”  Therefore, a direction and a goal is a must to guide the institution into the future.

The most effective education leader works to promote others and the institution.  A visionary will pave the path towards success by addressing the needs of the institution rather than a personal agenda. One must remember to recognize that the higher the aim, the more support is needed to be successful.  The key for this support is to work collaboratively with your colleagues towards one’s goals. 

One way of developing leaders would be to engage your team with the larger vision.  This would make them seek a greater sense of ‘meaning’ in their work.  A leader will share the vision and appeal to them to take full ownership to help achieve that vision together. Involving them in difficult or unusual situations that push them out of their comfort zones is a great way of testing their potential to become leaders.  One needs to recognize the potential in their team and this can be achieved by learning about their interests and personal goals.  Once they have been identified, they should be given a change to develop further by involving them in long-term challenging assignments, giving them a chance to develop new abilities and deepen their understanding of the organization. This can be supplemented with formal training, online learning, workshops, and sponsored courses.  Of course, one needs to monitor and reward excellence; and be a coach rather than a boss.   

My team looks up to me because I lead ‘by example’ and inspire them constantly. I have managed to do this by ‘listening’ to the team. I have learnt to interact more and I understand that one can learn something new from others, no matter what their position might be. I also get my ‘hands dirty’ by getting involved in the actual work at every level. I try and deliver promised results by delegating duties. I break down larger tasks into smaller manageable tasks to be assigned to the team members. I also try to resolve conflicts quickly and effectively. Most of all, I appreciate and value people and make sure that no members of my team feel inferior. I deeply value the contribution of all the employees in the organization. In this manner, I believe that the ‘face of the brand’ are all the people who work behind the scenes to accomplish the vision of the organization. 

The teachers can be motivated by recognizing and appreciating their efforts and hard work.  They need to see that a good healthy relationship among the colleagues strengthens the workplace.  Respect and trust also play an important part in keeping the teachers motivated.  As a leader, I always make myself available to them. I encourage them to reward each other in small ways. I give them a voice which works in favour of the organization. I provide them with opportunities to take breaks so that they come back refreshed and eager to work.  This also helps me as a leader to provide inspiration to the team and prove to be an effective leader. 

In this ever-changing world, we need to avoid a ‘breaking point’ at all costs to be successful. Whether it’s your career or personal life, one must face a lot of challenges and competition, keeping an abundance of positive thoughts. As educators, we need to adopt a ‘never give up’ attitude, especially while dealing with children. Such an attitude is required to make one stronger, to reach success, to become more resilient, to believe more in oneself, be committed to your work, and also to become an inspiration to others. It is a life motto that is recommended to everybody for this makes you determined to finish what you have started.  For all the upcoming professionals in the field of education, I would like to say – “A school is a good place to be and you belong here”.  This is a place you can trust. In order to be good leaders, you need to respect everybody as a professional and give yourselves opportunities to grow and develop your skills.

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