Effective and positive school cultures do not happen by accident-they are created by “resonant” leaders who employ emotional intelligence to motivate and nurture their faculty (Boyatzis & Mckee, 2005). Such leaders are always attuned to themself and the people and world around them (Boyatzis & McKee, 2005, p.112). They have a clear understanding of their visions and direct all actions toward achieving the vision of the organization (Nanus, 1992, p.14). They mindfully recognize their own strengths and attract competent people to enhance the organization’s capabilities towards collaborative achievement of goals. Without having the capability of being able to manage their own emotions, leaders cannot successfully manage and lead others (Goleman, Boyatzis, & Mckee, 2002, p.46). To lead schools successfully resonant leaders, cultivate trusting, engaged, and energized relationships with their faculty and others around them (Goleman, Boyatzis, & Mckee, 2002). It is not wrong to say that there is a direct relationship between the school leadership and the performance and satisfaction of its faculty and students.
In one of the school’s I worked in, the new school head who took over the school lacked the quality of being mindful of his environment. He was very capable and came with very high qualifications and credentials, yet he could not inspire the faculty to contribute to his vision. His ‘tunnel vision’ towards his goal, prevented him from seeing the early warnings of the problems (Golman, Boyatzis & Mckee, 2002, p. 128). He failed to acknowledge the existing culture of the organization and hence was unsuccessful is implementing the course of action he desired. A successful leader should not only be talented but also should also be emotionally intelligent and possess interpersonal skills that catalyse resonance.
Resonant school leaders are awake, aware and attentive (Golman, Boyatzis & Mckee, 2002, p. 116). They know who they are and how to stay focused on their True North (George & Simms, 2007, p.8). Besides being clear and consistent about their goals, they are also careful to the human and social environment around them to be able to generate more accurate ideas of what is going on in the true sense. Such leaders do not miss the culture phenomenon that exist ‘below the surface’ to understand the mind-set and frames of people in the school (Schein, 2010, p.14).
Leaders who read their world this way are more likely to avoid uninformed, bad decisions (Boyatzis & Mckee, 2002, p. 123). Such leaders welcome change as an opportunity for growth rather than an obstacle to be overcome, and they lead people through the uncertainty of a changing society. They ‘walk their talk’, and in doing so create a level of trust that allows others to follow. They are both the guardian and reformers of the educational system, and they ensure that all groups are engaged in a common goal and moving in the same direction.
Author: Farha Saulat (Education Specialist, The Hearth Education Advisors)
- Boyatzis, R., & McKee, A. (2005) Resonant Leadership: Renewing Yourself and Connecting With Others Through Mindfulness, Hope and Compassion. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
- George, B. with Simms, P. (2007). “The Journey to Leadership.” In True North, San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., & McKee, A. (2002). Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
- Nanus, B. (1992). Visionary Leadership: Creating a Compelling Sense of Direction for Your Organization, “Vision the Key to Leadership,” (pp. 3-19 first paragraph); “Properties of a Good Vision,” pp. 21-33, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
- Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership (Vol. 2). Wiley.com.