Tuesday, December 11, 2012

3 Benefits of Disciplined Leadership

There are 2 schools of thought on disciplined leadership. The first has to do with the tradition of correction through punishment and consequences. Bosses and managers see this as their only method to generate results, and it usually generates fear, toxicity and hierarchical dependence. That is not the purpose of this post.

Transformational leaders believe in discipline but not for the same reason as bosses. These leaders believe that the discipline of transformation is a regimen of targeted activity, precise procedures and appropriate rigor that guides beliefs and actions to a deeper level of focus and productivity.  One may think that transformational discipline revolves around motivation, inspiration and communication, but it is so much more.  Providing structures for others to develop, to be effective and to be ultimately self-sufficient means that leaders must also prevent outside influences and issues from making their way into the classroom.

In order to be a Disciplined Leader, one must believe in:

1. Buffering

Marzano defines buffering as creating structures and procedures around the technical core of teaching. Leadership success is capitalized by the ability to construct a proverbial iron dome that limits outside interference from creeping into the classroom. By watching the instructional clock and allowing nothing to hold progress hostage, leaders stimulate academic improvement.

2. Protection

There are too many distractions that lead teachers away from the core of teaching. Leaders know this and take detailed steps to define structures that shield teachers from any interruption that would detract their focus from all kids. Identifying negative influences and eliminating or containing them improves instructional productivity.

An analogy to the discipline of protection is being a guard on watch at a military base, making patrols and preventing outside issues from making an attack on progress.  Conversely, leaders also protect like an oncologist that watches inside the body for cancerous cells to metastasize and spread to other organs in the body.  Leaders are aware of the undercurrents and attitudes that potentially affect the organization and are prepared to protect the organization when the time comes.

3. Cogent Confrontation

Buffering and protection requires confrontation. Communicating to others that their acts interfere with instruction is difficult, but transformational leaders confront by using their relational capital to gain support or at a minimum, understanding. In addition, leaders invest time in explaining why they must confront the issue, not the person, so outsiders understand why the leader is preventing them from affecting teachers and more importantly instruction.

Final Thoughts

When the leader is disciplined to a high level of effectiveness, effective protocols emerge.  Effective protocols are vital to improve achievement. By going deeper into the heart of discipline, the leader's expectations and directives morph from protecting instruction to developing adherents, better known as disciples. Disciples within a disciplined organization are not blind followers of the leader, but rather believers in something nobler.  They are followers of an effective system rich in  protocols and a common vision that promotes learning and prevents issues that detract from it...

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