Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Be Neither Dreamer or Dictator: Influence Others to Believe in Your Vision

Thomas Jefferson, despite any of his faults, was considered in a recent biography by Pulitzer Prize winning author Jon Meacham (Thomas Jefferson, The art of Power), a leader able to "articulate national aspirations yet master the mechanics of influence and know when to depart from dogma." He was able to "move men, to balance the inspirational and the pragmatic [as he] realized his vision [through] compromise and improvisation."

I don't profess to have all the answers when I share my vision with stakeholders in my learning community, and I do not present absolutes, pretending to have the solutions to everyone's challenges. The themes of my messages are clear and forthright- I recognize my community's needs and lay out processes by which everyone can collaboratively engage to come up with solutions together. In doing this, I have had success engendering sincere ownership among the faculty/staff, parents, and students in moving the community forward, rather than trying to convince them I can fix the problems with which we're faced.

This post is part of my "Leadership Lessons From American Presidents" series.

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