Leadership And The Right Drivers…

As a leader, creating change is not just about incorporating the right drivers, it is knowing when, how, as well as where, and why.

Leadership is as much emotion as it is strategy, skill and knowledge.  It is the ability to temper our gut feeling with the right strategy.  It is in applying Old MacDonald’s approach to leading, the “E-I-E-I-O” (or the ability to incorporate Emotional Intelligence into our Organizational leadership).

Without the emotion side, leaders are clinical and lack the empathy and compassion necessary to drive change in a positive and understanding manner.

Without the knowledge and skill side, leaders lack the ability to initiate the right thinking to determine the best strategy or strategies to move change forward in the most effective way for the organization as a whole.

One doesn’t overwhelm the other rather, they work in tandem to support the change process.

It is the ying and yang of leadership.  And even beyond that, it is the understanding of how this ying and yang work in tandem with our drivers of and for change.

We all know that there are drivers, drivers for systems, for organizations, for teams, and even individuals.  But just understanding what those drivers of change are, is not enough.  It is knowing when to apply those drivers, and how.

When to push and when to back off…

As Michael Fullan says, “The right drivers are effective because they work directly on changing the culture.”  Which is why the Old MacDonald theme of E-I-E-I-O is so appropriate…

The ability to apply the right drivers to change culture requires both emotion and intelligence.  It is the art and science of leadership.

From accountability to autonomy, from intrinsic motivation to raising expectations.

A leader has to know when and what, how and where, and even why.  The right driver in the wrong place at the wrong time is ineffective.  The wrong driver at the right time and in the right place is just as wrong.  Great leadership is knowing when to levy the right driver, at the right time, in the right place, in just the right way.

And that takes both the emotion and the intelligence of your leadership.  One, without the other is just ineffective.

Old MacDonald had it right, without the “EI” we struggle with moving the “O” forward.  Creating a great organizational culture requires both “emotion” and “intelligence” from the leadership.


2 thoughts on “Leadership And The Right Drivers…

  1. I think of two kinds of “smarts,” David: people skills and cognitive skills. People skills include the ability to listen deeply, have empathy, identify and manage one’s own emotions, persist over time in the achievement of important goals, display authentic positive emotions, and so on. Cognitive skills include logic, analysis, synthesis, and the ability to deeply understand complex ideas. They include the technical skills of most school leaders’ work, such as the ability to deeply understand complex ideas and practices, to clearly explain those complex ideas and practices, to recognize patterns and significance in various forms of data, to prepare cogent analyses of important issues, and to make appropriate use of research and professional literature. While both sets of skills are essential to successful school leadership, I often observe leaders struggling because the first set of skills – what today we call emotional intelligence – have not been intentionally and persistently developed.

  2. Unfortunately, I pushed the send button before I said what I most wanted to say – thanks, David, for starting a conversation about this really important subject.

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