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Colin Powell's approach to leadership works for education leaders as well

Scott Taylor Superintendent- Kenilworth Schools; Adjunct- Rutgers University

Talking about his approach to leadership, Colin Powell (most recently Secretary of State and previously Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), described expectations to which he holds those who report to him:

"In every senior job I've had I've tried to create an environment of professionalism and the very highest standards. When it was necessary to get a job done, I expected my subordinates to work around the clock. When that was not necessary, I wanted them to work normal hours, go home at a decent time, play with the kids, enjoy family and friends, read a novel, clear their heads, daydream, and refresh themselves. I am paying them for the quality of their work, not for the hours they work."

Educational leaders must deal with "clock punchers" who check in exactly when their contract states they must and check out as soon as they're allowed. Some of these people put 200% of their attention, energy, and compassion into their work day. Others put in 100% effort. Like Powell, I expect my subordinates to give me everything they've got in order to get something accomplished (and in the education business, student achievement is what has to be accomplished!). I have little problem with the clock puncher who puts forth the 200% effort, nor do I concern myself with the regular-hour worker who continues to work into the night and on the weekend. I recognize and respect my teachers' and administrators' needs to tend to their personal lives and will take a hands-off approach to monitoring their work schedule. To show my support, I model this work behavior. My subordinates know I may work a regular day but "live" my job after hours, through weekend and holidays.

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