I recently came across the debate of the leadership and management. The debate questioned whether management is the same leadership, or if they are different. This debate triggered something in me as I always regard myself as a campus manager of Future Nation Schools Fleurhof.
After I read few articles on the subject I realised that at our schools we are not managers, but rather leaders, hence our teachers who have been with the schools excel in their work. The new teachers who have just joined the team and come from a background of management, may find it hard to adapt at first, but once they realise the benefits of working under a leader, they do not look back!
What is the difference between a manger and a leader, and what makes the leadership of Future Nation Schools adopt this style guiding their teams?
According to Clive Smith (UJ), leaders serve people, managers steward resources. Leaders motivate the team to own the organisation vision and strategy and work at implementing them. They encourage innovation. They allow team members to come up with better ways of implementing a vision. They are flexible. They are open to new ideas. Leaders always think of better ways of improving the organisation. The key focus of the leaders is on the team, or people they lead, and they always check if they are motivated to create new ideas to better the organisation. They take risks with new ideas as long as they can envision that the risk will bring some positive change.
On the other hand, managers focus is on the set goals. They set, measure and achieve goals. As far as managers are concerned, the key performance indicators are set and they cannot be changed. Managers leave a little or no room for innovation. The main focus of managers is to achieve the goals, and they pay little attention as to how motivated the team is. The mind-set of the managers is fixed on the goals at hand and the road map set to achieve them. They are more rigid than flexible. They are afraid of taking risks.
Future Nation schools is not about maintaining the education system, but it is all about bringing a change to the system by adopting Project Based Learning. A leader believes in change more than maintaining the routine, as mangers do.
FNS is future orientated. Teachers work on developing skills in the learners for future jobs. Leaders’ attributes include future orientation while managers’ attributes use present and past experiences to guide the teams they manage. The manager also believes in the written guidelines where they ‘do things right and follow the policy’. The leaders believe in doing the right thing, not to be constraint by written policy.
The leaders of FNS believe that the teachers and the teams they lead are there to do the right thing, more than telling them on how to do them right and to be limited by rules. They are more people-orientated and they work by trusting the team they work with. Thus they unleash the innovation from the team. Future Nation Schools are moving from strength to strength because culture is key more over rules. While managers out there are resource-orientated, believe in control and driven by rules more than culture. From how the teams are led they admire their leaders more than obeying the instructions, as a result the FNS team is an effective team more than just an efficient team.
It is with this reason that Future Nation team excels because they are led by effective leaders more than managed.
I owe this inspiration to my lecturer DR CLIVE SMITH (UJ Department of Education Management and Leadership)
By Xolisa Luthi: Head Of School (Fleurhof)