Oct 11 2011

How am I Managing to Become a Leader?

Posted at 9:02 pm under Uncategorized

I get caught in my personal management vs. leadership debate all the time.  I get frustrated at work with the amount of time I spend on management issues compared to the amount of time I spend on leadership issues.  However, I believe that I need to make a more conscious effort to further develop my leadership skills.

I have grown up believing that most decisions have a “right” or “wrong” answer.  I naturally focus on efficiency and effectiveness.  When I read Zampella’s (2004) paper, I was immediately drawn towards the diagram outlining management and leadership.  I agree with all of the “emergent thinking” descriptions of leadership, but I tend to default to the “current thinking” descriptions of management.

As I read the article, I realized why I have not followed through with a professional development plan I had for my school.  Over the past summer, I wanted to create an online PD location for our staff to discuss and post ideas.  I believe that the opportunity to share ideas and support them with media from the internet will help catapult my staff into the 21st century and model some methods that can be used in the classroom.  My issue was (is) finding the “right” online platform.  I have Twittered for advice on whether to use Ning or Edmodo.  I have Googled for information on the best educational PD tools.  I have spent a significant amount of time looking for the best platform to implement a good idea and in the end, my PD idea has remained an idea.

Gladwell (2009) writes about Howard Moskowitz’s revolution of the spaghetti sauce industry in the mid-1980’s.  At that time, the industry was focussed on cornering the market by discovering the recipe for the “perfect” tasting sauce.  Prego hired Moskowitz and his “plural nature of perfection” (pg. 37) philosophy of the food and drink business.  He discovered that there are several preferences when it comes to taste.  By 1990, Prego had produced three main flavours and today, the supermarket has dedicated an entire shelf to the many varieties of spaghetti sauce.

I am realizing that my desire for the “perfect” solution is the reason why I believe that I am a good manager.  However, the solution that I am looking for may not work for everyone in my building.  I need to provide my staff with a taste of the PD idea I have and let the format evolve in order to branch out to everyone.  The “plural nature of perfection” can also be applied to the educational world and the development of my leadership skills.



Gladwell, M. (2009). What the Dog Saw. New York, NY: Back Bay Books.
Zampella, A.V. (2004). Rethinking Leadership in an Information Era.  Retrieved from Blackboard: Course Documents

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “How am I Managing to Become a Leader?”

  1.   Patrickon 15 Oct 2011 at 5:10 am 1

    Great analogy Brad. The many different tastes in the building are at times overwhelming. Some like it plain, no sauce at all, and some have the works. Some use tech. some never. Some are involved with students, some race for the door. I have found that trying to find the mid line or the perfect sauce, like you, is non-productive. I love the analogy as even though I have read the book, it did not dawn on me ’til now that he was discussing my school. Thanks for starting my day with a new perspective!

  2.   Melanieon 19 Oct 2011 at 12:45 pm 2

    Hi Brad,

    I like your angle regarding plural approaches to get at an answer that works for a variety of people! It’s this kind of sensitivity to personalities and the ways people work that help leaders get the best out of the team


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