Taking steps to become more effective leaders

First Posted: 6/28/2009

Dr. Larry Coble, the new director of the Piedmont Triad Education Consortium beginning July 1, spoke to the Mount Airy City Board of Education at Saturday mornings retreat about leadership styles.
His goal was to help board members better understand themselves so that they can become more effective leaders for the school system.
Youve got to lead the way, but you cant be too far out in front, he said. Youve got to take people where they need to be.
One of the key components of being able to do that, according to Coble, is personal mastery or understanding personal strengths and developmental needs or weaknesses.
He also stressed the need to learn from experiences and to respect the past. He told members that by respecting the past, it is easier to get people to move forward into the future. Superintendents in smaller school systems are forced to have one foot in the future and one foot in the present in order to lead effectively.
You better recognize and respect the dignity of the past. A link to the past is so very important, especially in education, he said. Youve got to create conditions for people to succeed.
Coble then used a number of exercises in an attempt to get the board members to look at themselves honestly as well as to allow them to understand each other better when it comes to discussion.
The more we learn about each other, the more we can understand the angles we take when we tackle issues, said Dr. Darrin Hartness, superintendent, of the exercises.
Members were asked to answer a series of questions to determine their drives. Drives influence the goals people set, how they work and the decisions they make. According to the exercise, there are nine basic drives. Everyone has some aspect of each drive but many find that one is more dominant than the other. The type of drive that is dominant often determines what other types of people they work with better.
Another exercise asked board members what commandments were instilled in them early in life that they still follow today and the effects of those commandments on how they serve on the board. Examples of this included following the golden rule or being respectful.
The final exercise called for board members to share a powerful learning experience from their life that has influenced them as a person and changed the way they view things. An example given by Coble was the death of a spouse or a child.
Board members worked to be as open and honest as possible with their answers in order to allow the retreat to be most effective. They also agreed that they would like to continue doing similar activities during the year to help them become a better board for the school system.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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