Leadership Challenge

So reflecting back on my last post and the recent reading about Leadership it seems like there is a real-life case study unfolding right before us on many different levels – the COVID-19 crisis.  Unfortunately, the longer this goes on the more I see actions and comments that are exactly the opposite of Leadership.

Engaging in effective leadership is difficult and often requires making choices that are unpopular in the short run.  Many of our elected “leaders” seem to be more interested in engaging in partisan politics, placing blame and focusing on the short-term, easy approach to managing the crisis rather than leaning in and embracing the responsibilities they have been given.  Not that it is an excuse, but to be fair our current national climate and 24/7 news cycle make it very difficult for politicians to make tough decisions.  Shutting down the economy is proving to not be a particularly effective strategy in managing the virus and this approach is introducing a multitude of other problems that will have to be dealt with over the coming months and years.  These leaders have access to a vast number of resources that can be leveraged to create a more balanced approach (Distributed Leadership anyone?) but unfortunately it seems like oftentimes their egos are too large to allow them to get out of the way or take a more subdued approach.  We can and should expect more from those chosen for these roles.

As the quarantine persists and remote learning continues, pressure is also building in educational settings.  Students are becoming more frustrated and less interested in completing their work, expectations for learning are being further relaxed and many teachers are finding it more and more difficult to maintain their energy and motivation.  While all this is very understandable given the emotional toll of situation, my concern is that we may be inadvertently lowering our standards which will likely create additional problems down the road.  Perhaps the best way we can show leadership during this time is to challenge ourselves to solve problems in a balanced way, compassionately work through difficult situations and be effective role models for dealing with adversity.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

One thought on “Leadership Challenge

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  1. Hi Paul,
    Sorry for the delayed response!
    I absolutely agree with all of the above. I as well worry about the economy as well as how things have unfolded politically. I am also worried about the “lowering of our standards” especially for those students who were already performing below grade level. As a special ed. teacher I have been meeting with almost all of my caseload as well as other students I was servicing in school. All together this includes 19 students, from that group I am averaging about half who regularly come to our zooms 2-3 times a week. With most of these cases I feel our zoom meets have been on par with meeting in person and that they are staying “on track”. However this is only in math and not necessarily other subjects that I don’t see them for. And the other half of students that either don’t come regularly or haven’t yet come at all are falling behind significantly. This is a huge concern.
    Now is the time for our government and school leaders to come up with a better plan in September, we just can’t kep going at this pace, not for our students our the economy.


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