Why Principals should strive to arrive at level-5 leadership


As a penman, this is the way I see it. It is what every Principal should strive to know. That what worked well in school A may fail in school B.

These two different institutions call for different tact. The level of leadership you had reached with school A may not be akin to school B.

In the new station, you may be required to start it again or build from a simple point.

In a heroic book titled 5 Levels of Leadership, Dr. John C. Maxwell talks about levels leaders climb in organisations. As a scribe, I will dote on that great text to help you understand something worth writing.

Ideally, Level 1 is position (rights). People follow the leader because they have an obligation to do it. Level 2 is permission (relationships).

Leaders must strive to know the people they are leading, and figure out how to work well with them.

In the years of yore, Henry Ford observed, “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

 Then, Level 3 is production (results). People follow the leader because of what they have done for the organisation.

Feats, achievements and accomplishments: are magnets that endear followers on leaders. Level 4 is People Development (reproduction).

Leaders become great not because of the powers they wield or royal rods and scepters they brandish, but because of their ability to empower others.

Level 5 is pinnacle (respect). Most leaders can climb the ladder of leadership up to Level 4, but level 5 looks elusive in nature.

It requires joint effort, skill, intentionality and great talent. Leaders at Level 5 nurture people to become Level 4 leaders.

When people are respectful, pleasant and productive, they can establish a degree of influence with others, create class and clout.

Moreover, Level 5 Leaders develop Level 5 Organisations. They create infinite spectra of opportunities that leaders at lower levels fail flat to offer.

Leaders who are at the acme of Level 5 transcend their positions.

Some leaders think that leadership only remains at Level 1. They hold the view that leadership is only about job position, title, rank, or occupancy of an ego-boosting office.

Such leaders rely on threats and intimidation to steer the dhow towards the shores. The veracity of the matter is this: People follow such leaders because they have to do so. They do not have any escape route. Positional leadership abuts on rights granted by the position and title.

In a colossal sense, nothing is wrong with wielding a leadership position, but something becomes seriously wrong when a leader clings only on the position to peddle influence. In a larger sense, position is a poor substitute for puissance and influence.

Leaders who make it only to Level 1 may be bosses, but they are never leaders. They have subordinates, but not teammates.

No wonder, for them to govern, they have to put a lot of premium on rules, regulations, policies, and organisational charts.

Their subjects will only follow them within the stated boundaries of their aura of authority. The people will only do what is required of them.

When a leader joins a new organisation, s/he should take the challenge, and inject change. But the change must be reasonable and rational.

Meaning, change sometimes is useful medicine, but bitter like bile. Change should come in piecemeal and in doses. It has to be gradual and glacial. Ostensibly, the speed should not be rapid and radical. Revolution is not the way, but evolution serves well.

When you join an organisation and turn tables abruptly, this may look awkward. You found them eating chicken. Then, they started eating eggs. Now, they are eating like chicken. So, they will start comparing you with your predecessor.

In their mortal minds, they will long for the comeback of their former boss. They will talk about what they enjoyed in the former regime. As they amplify the current pain points. They will talk about the luscious lunch, motivation, moolah, privileges, perks, perquisites, responsibilities and recognition.

Your predecessor employed several styles of leadership to deal with specific situations, but during your time, you are just stuck like a tick on totalitarianism? How can you only rely on high-handedness to govern people who sat in Philosophy and Psychology class just like you?

Yet, it is wise to employ different styles like democracy, servant leadership, charismatic approaches, inter alia? Lastly, pertaining the right leadership style to use, there are two poignant points.

Firstly, the style of leadership depends on the situation at hand. Secondly, discretion should guide leaders to adopt combination of styles.

The writer rolls out leadership talks and training programmes. He speaks in conferences convened for Principals and Deputy Principals.

vochieng.90@gmail.com. 0704420232

© Victor Ochieng’

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