Confessions of a control freak
Kentucky School Advocate
By Davonna Page
Member, Russellville Board of Education
I must confess I have, in the past, been something of a control freak. At times I find myself unable – even unwilling – to delegate tasks to someone else. Age and experience as a paralegal, local school board member and as president of KSBA have taught me a valuable lesson: If you hire the right people and you clearly articulate a vision they can get behind, the trust to delegate comes naturally.
One of the keys to successful leadership is allowing your staff to do their jobs. You have selected the best people with the skills, experience and education to effectively take on duties they were hired to do. As a leader, your job is to chart the course, provide the rationale, listen empathetically and then step out of the way to watch the magic happen. Sometimes things do not always go quite that smoothly. There will be hiccups and hurdles, speed bumps and snags. With mutual trust, respect and teamwork, you will eventually get to where you are trying to go.
This fall, I had the honor and privilege of watching my daughter walk down the aisle on her wedding day. As a proud mother of the bride, I was involved in aspects of the planning. Despite the overwhelming urge to jump in and take control, I stayed conscious of who I was doing this for. Along the way, I gathered information and asked lots of questions. I reminded myself over and over that the right people were perfectly poised to do their jobs: the wedding planner, the caterer, the venue staff, the photographer and officiant. Everyone had a role to play, each focused on ensuring a memorable day for my daughter and her groom-to-be. That sharing of responsibilities is what allowed all of us to enjoy the celebration.
Leadership at a local district level is a collaborative process of working with your board team, your district staff, parents and the community at large. Setting a singular vision with common goals can be a difficult task. Allow the team’s mutual passion for service to students to illuminate your path forward.
With election season almost behind us and the prospect of new board teams on the horizon, I hope that you will be able to find common ground with your new colleagues. Just as there is a tendency for some new board members to be a little overzealous, there is often an urge by veteran board members to grip the reigns a little tighter. In either case, as you welcome new members and bid farewell to others, I challenge you to seek a place of trust and cooperation. The give and take between members of the board team should remain civil and honest, never to stray from the goal of providing quality education for all students.