When I was a new administrator I thought I could handle everything on my own. Let me rephrase that. I thought I was supposed to handle everything on my own. After all, I was the boss. People looked to me to lead the organization, make the hard decisions, steer the ship, have all the right answers, and know everything about everything. That's what they hired me for. Because if it was easy, everyone could do it. So it wasn’t that I was arrogant or a know-it- all, it’s just that I thought that’s what the job was. Those were my responsibilities. I didn’t want to call a contractor to get information about a construction/repair project. I didn’t want to call an attorney about what I thought was a minor legal issue. I certainly didn’t want to bring in an "expert" to help us with our long-term planning or with board or staff development. I should be able to do that myself, in-house.
I soon learned that my role was different from what I thought it was. I wasn’t a boss in the way I thought boss was defined. I wasn’t there just to make decisions and tell people what to do. For myself to be successful and more importantly for our school district to be successful, I had to shift from being what I thought a boss was to being a manager. I had to learn how to surround myself with people that had expertise in areas other than myself. I had to learn not to be afraid to get help from people that know more about a topic than I did. And if that meant going out to get outside help then that is what I would do. But I had to know when it was appropriate. So, before making the decision as to whether or not I should include outside help, I asked myself a few questions:
1. Is my time better spent dealing with the things that I have expertise in?
2. Can my small problem turn into a much larger one if I mishandle the situation?
3. Would it be helpful for me to “sit on the same side of the table” as my co-workers or board members, instead of being up front leading the discussion?
4. Will we get better results?
5. Will the money I spend on a consultant actually save me money in the long run? (and remember, your organization is paying you for the time you spend on preparing and leading the training)
I am 5 years retired now from public education, after 31 years total and 10 years as a superintendent. I have since, with another retired educator, started Key Solutions, LLC., a consulting business specializing in leadership development
and strategic planning organizational progress. I’m not trying to generate business, I just want you to think, really think, about the best way to accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish. And make that decision for the right