NOTE: “Leadership Reflections” shares views of the different members of the University Leadership Council on matters related to campus life and the operations of the University. As well, it features opinions on issues of national and/or international relevance.
Education and Management
By Dr. Maria Cecilia M. Genove, Dean, College of Mass Communication
A few days from now, students and school children will troop to schools all over the country to start a brand-new school year. At no other time is the education sector called upon to impose drastic measures to address the challenges and concerns confronting what could make or break the way by which teachers administer learnings to these impressionable youth.
For one, the K-12, a mandate that has seen exhaustive discussions, will finally be implemented starting this school year, although its effects would be felt in the tertiary level some four years from now yet. The strict adherence to licensed teachers teaching basic education has long been enforced, while those handling tertiary courses need to be, at the very least, masters-prepared in the specific discipline, or in a related or allied field. This is now part of the education law to ensure that the credentials of teachers are in order, putting premium on the fact that even if a teacher has had many years of experience, it is not equivalent to credentials. Moreover, if one is teaching a course that requires a licensure examination, then, the teacher likewise has to be licensed in that specific discipline, like Chemistry, Accountancy, Social Work, Engineering, not to mention the obvious and superfluous, like Medicine and Law. Times are a-changing and if one has to keep one’s head afloat in the academe, one is admonished to be compliant. In fact, if you can re-invent yourself or re-engineer your skills and abilities, it will redound to better opportunities and wider reach among your clientele.
Conversely, it is possible to combine education and management. A good educator can become an effective manager – after all, the business of education entails good managerial skills and competence.
What essentially are the characteristics of an ideal educational executive manager? Can an educator likewise become an effective manager or business executive? Although serendipity is part of life, nothing happens by chance in education and management. Those who are successful believe that whatever the job is, it can always be done better.
In a survey done by management guru, William A. Delaney, among top management personnel of various organizations in the United States, we discern a high level of similarity with the way our educational institutions are also being managed. Although the structure of a corporation may differ from that of a school or university, we may find some similarity in their goals and objectives, or in their vision and mission.
For example, Delaney found that most good managers are able to accomplish much through other people’s assistance, rather than by doing the job directly by themselves. This is called delegating of responsibility, which promotes productivity and develops the competence of younger staff or personnel. This discourages the old slogan which goes that in any organization, 10 percent of the people do 90 percent of the work.
Delaney further discovered that managers get better responses from people doing many jobs who were motivated more by approval, and a kind word, rather than by higher pay, better positions, or job security. This can be equated to education supervisors and administrators who mince no words in praising teachers and other staff members for a job well done. A compliment or two will surely not hurt at all; in fact, a kind word goes a long way in making a colleague feel important or accepted into the organization. As an eminent educator-manager has said: “In order to help people reach their full potential, catch them doing something right” – and, if we may add, praise them.
The survey further revealed that potential managers are those who are not afraid to take “sensible risks.” This is where the business aspect of education comes in. As in any business, risk-taking is the name of the game. Fear of failure has never done any organization well, but the risk-takers have soared to greater heights because even if they may fail, they regard these failures as opportunities for them to think creatively.
Another mark of an ideal educational executive manager is initiative which, according to Delaney, seems indigenous to top management personnel. Initiative does not appear to be common among the rank and file, as the survey revealed, because majority of the executives surveyed believed that most people prefer to be led rather than to make their own decisions. However, leaders had the initiative before they became executives, and this helped get them their promotions.
We wish to add our own idea of what makes an ideal or effective educational executive manager, and this is the ability to consult the lower ranks to ask them for suggestions on how to run things in the organization or institution effectively. No executive can run things his or her own way without getting the ire of his subordinates, in the same manner that no administrator can run an educational institution in an authoritarian atmosphere without people raising howls of protest.
If there is time for praises, then there is also time for reprimands, as in any organization. The effective educational executive manager, however, ensures that privacy is strictly enforced whenever subordinates may err or commit some misdemeanors. If you reprimand, then do it in private and keep it to a minimum. Better still, focus on the present mistake that was committed without bringing up other things that are otherwise better forgotten because they occurred in the past. In other words, do not bring up past mistakes and equate them to the present. No one would like to be reminded of the past.
Lastly, whatever the measure of an executive’s success will amount to nothing if he or she has to pay the price of success. More often than not – and which was also validated by Delaney’s survey – majority of executives put work over family interests. While this may be good for business, it certainly does not augur well for the home and family life.
Therefore, an ideal educational executive manager is one who is able to strike a happy balance between career, and family and home life. Nothing should be sacrificed in favor of the other. No success is too high for anyone to put a price on it. No success is too great for anyone to sacrifice his or her personal happiness for its realization.
Only then can we say that we have enhanced our creativity and developed our competence because we did not take anyone or anything for granted.
That would be the true measure of success for an ideal educational executive manager.