Tuesday, 30 December 2008

You don't need to be an expert...

Have you heard leaders say "I never ask others to do something that I wouldn't do myself"? This presumes they are the font of all knowledge. Good leaders realise that they do not know it all, cannot do it all, and should not do it all. Great leaders realise that they need to delegate and build capacity in others. Here is an example. The video below illustrates how teachers can help students by developing their own skills in the use of web 2.0 tools. They don't need to be experts!


Great leaders realise that they need to continue to develop their own skills, seeking feedback and feeling a little uncomfortable sometimes. They seek to understand their colleagues through developing strong relationships and realise that all are leaders in their own areas of knowledge and skills. There is a greater chance of developing expertise in others when a leader knows when to control, coach, partner or consult. As a keen advocate of the Four Quadrant Leadership programme, developed by Wilf Jarvis, I have pondered on this whole issue of leading others over many years. Great leaders know how to delegate and do so on purpose. Using the video as an example, consider these questions to help determine whether to delegate:

How well can they manage the task (job efficiency)?
In the case of students with web 2.0 tools many would be able to manage the technologies better than many teachers (the 'leaders' in this scenario).

What is their level of energy to complete the task? Are they highly motivated? Ambivalent? Defensive?
In using web 2.0 tools many students would be motivated.

So if those you lead are highly capable of doing the task and are highly motivated to do so - don't stand in their way. Be there - but let them be! If they need skill development then help them develop the skills. In doing so look to others - of all ages - to build capacity. Great leaders knowingly develop the efficiency of others, they do not seize control or pretend they are the expert in all things.

1 comment:

Justine said...

As a DP I know I can't be an expert - even though others look to me for answers - it is the journey of discovering together a solution that makes my job great... building capacity definately in others and displaying an enthusiasm and willingness to try everything. The possibilities then for leadership are endless.