LEADING A SCHOOL
Leading a school effectively is a skill that requires constant planning and development. A school leader can be defined as the person who is vested with formal authority over an organization or one of its sub units. He or she has status that leads to various interpersonal relations, and from this comes access to information. Information, in turn, enables the leader to devise strategies, make decisions, and implement action. Management is concerned with the optimum attainment of organizational goals and objectives with and through other people. Extension management organizations are characterized by many strategies, wide spans of control, social equality, and autonomy. Their management practices cannot be reduced to one standard set of operating guidelines that will work for all organizations continually. However, all leaders of professional organizations face the same challenge: to manage one’s time, objectives, and resources in order to accomplish tasks and implement ideas.
School leaders are painfully aware of the need for revision and development of the new skill sets held by today’s high performers. If change is not handled correctly, it can be more devastating than ever before. High performers reflect, discover, assess, and act. They know that a new focus on connecting the heads, hearts, and hands of people in their organization is necessary. Astute school leaders know what needs to be done but struggle with how to do it. Quite often they prefer to consider themselves as teachers or communicators rather than managers. This results in under-utilization of the increasing amount of literature on management theory and practice. The root of the problem is implementation. They must learn how to motivate others and build an efficient team.
More formally defined, management is the process by which people, technology, job tasks, and other resources are combined and coordinated so as to effectively achieve organizational objectives. A process or function is a group of related activities contributing to a larger action. Management functions are based on a common philosophy and approach.
- Developing and clarifying mission, policies, and objectives of the organization.
- Establishing formal and informal organizational structures as a means of delegating authority and sharing responsibilities.
- Setting priorities and reviewing and revising objectives in terms of changing demands.
- Maintaining effective communications within the working group, with other groups, and with the larger community.
- Selecting, motivating, training, and appraising staff.
- Securing funds and managing budgets; evaluating accomplishments and,
- Being accountable to staff, the larger activity, and to the community at large.
A leader of the school must be the leader of the all the activities conducted by the organization. Therefore, it’s a conscientiousness of the leader to direct the learning and teaching constantly.
Being a leader, shaping the future is the most important aspect to be concerned. The leader should plan to implement and to achieve the organizational goals and to reach up to the vision and mission of the school.
Planning forecasts the future needs of extension organizations. With the rapid changes in technology, developmental situation, and competitive environment, planning for future has become an important, challenging task for extension. Planning involves plans for future needs of personnel, their required skills, recruitment of employees, and development of personnel, making the place up to date, analyzing teaching and learning methodologies, making the parents aware of the school and getting their accompany are some of the key areas to think about.
Human resource forecasting and human resource audit are the two most important components of this type of planning. Human resource forecasting refers to predicting an organization’s future demand for number, type, and quality of various categories of employees. The assessment of future needs has to be based on analysis of present and future policies and growth trends. The techniques of forecasting include the formal expert survey, technique, statistical analysis, budget and planning analysis, and computer models. The human resource audit gives an account of the skills, abilities, and performance of all the employees of an organization. This needs to the job analysis.
Job analysis traditionally was done for purposes connected with recruitment, pay, administration, and supervision. But the increasing complexity of work has made job analysis an important instrument for developing people in organizations. Job analysis requires a systematic collection, evaluation, and organization of information about the job. This information is collected through interviews, mailed questionnaires, observation, study of records, and similar methods. The collected information becomes a basis for preparing job descriptions and specifications. The job description, or job profile, is a written statement which includes detailed specifications of duties to be performed, responsibilities, and working conditions and indicates what is expected of a job holder. A job specification is a profile of the human characteristics needed for the job, such as education, training, skills, experience, and physical and mental abilities.
Extension organizations sometimes do not have clearly defined job descriptions or job specifications for extension personnel. The training and visit system of extension considerably improved the preparation of job charts, work plans, and time-bound work for different categories of extension personnel. However, the actual utility of job descriptions extension organizations is complicated by factors such as work overload, seasonality of extension, the range of cropping systems, and distribution of extension service over a large area. Job analysis is needed to improve the performance and effectiveness of extension employees whether it is supervisor, teacher, administrative officer, secretary, Clark or even a laborer. Job analysis can more effectively contribute towards the development of extension personnel by adopting the procedures which involve identifying key performance areas and critical attributes.
Management development programmes are meant to improve the managerial skills of senior-level extension officers and to prepare them for future roles. There is a great need for management development programmes in extension organizations because they face complex situations due to changing agricultural scenarios. Further, extension managers have to be exposed to modern management techniques and methods. Management development programmes have to be suited to the needs of top-level extension managers and should be based on needs analysis. Methods such as coaching, job rotation, training sessions, classroom instruction, and educational institute-sponsored development programmes are used to train managers.
However, the ultimate measure of effective human resources within an extension organization is the performance of extension personnel. Thus performance appraisal is important for effective human resource management. Performance appraisal is a process of evaluating employee performance in order to guide and develop the employee’s potential. In many extension organizations which are government departments, the performance appraisal is nothing more than a confidential judgment of work done and a character report used to facilitate disciplinary action or promotion. The employees do not get feedback about their performance. Extension organizations need to have an open appraisal system to provide feedback and opportunities for open discussion with employees on their performance, because they have immense potential to grow and develop. This system can create a healthy working climate and employee motivation.
Every organization has formal and informal groups. Formal groups are established by the management, while informal groups are spontaneous and developed to satisfy mutual interest of the members. Because work groups have a considerable influence on the work situation, supervisors should be sensitive to the needs of the group and develop skills to guide and achieve the group’s goal, which will benefit the organization and the members. Effective extension supervision can use work groups in problem solving because they can provide many creative solutions. One way to improve supervisory effectiveness in a school is to develop a leadership style which represents the extension workers’ group interest at the higher level of organization. This will increase the confidence and morale of the work group. An understanding of group dynamics and their implications for increasing work-group performance is essential for extension supervisors.
The organization will always need to enhance the resources not only the human but also the psychical resources. Most of the island schools are lack of resources. Therefore, it is very important to utilize the resources available at the highest level and get new resources needed for the organization.
Therefore, it’s the leader who should be ready for the challenge of planning forecasts the future needs of extension organizations. So job analysis requires a systematic collection, evaluation, and organization of information about the job. Hence, the leader should also be a role model in the learning and teaching process, to accomplish the mission and vision of the organization at the highest level.