VOLUME IV CHAPTER VII
MANAGEMENT – A BALANCING ACT
Your dream is to become a leader then don’t have with you people with an “I AM A WITCH” syndrome. They have in a ‘PITY CITY’ or suffer from ‘VICTIMITUS VIRUS’ – something which Rani Subramanian calls “The Ghayal syndrome” in his book “Death in pinstripes”. They blame others for your troubles. They run away from responsibilities. If they are found to spread negative energy very soon they should be shown the door as this attitude is a contagious disease. Even if he is an excellent performer, he should not be allowed to have these eccentricities.
In the factory of Mian Mohammed Mansha, Chairman of Pakistan’s Nishat group. Ahmed Khan a worker said: – “When I come in to work, it seems as though everything is all right”.
If this is said of a factory, should it not be said so of your school by your staff? You create opportunities for your staff to perform and excel. Then, half the battle is won. Education management is a relentless balancing act. You should know how to seize the moment.
Take the advice of H.M. Bangur, Managing Director of Shree cements who says “I was advised by Warren Buffet – “Be generous to your employees. It will come back to you in the long run”. This has been the personal pleasant experience of the author throughout his service.
If another school offers a job to your senior staff, do everything to keep him back with you. Because it is very expensive in the long run to let go of a senior experienced staff.
There is a line in an English poem which says “People who achieved dreams and wept when others slept”. Nehru used to say “Daily I borrowed a few hours from my sleeping time to serve the nation”. If Azim Premji, Chairman of “WIPRO Technologies” demanded 14 hours from a senior leader for a certain task, he himself would clock 16 hours. Then only you can keep your dreams on track.
T.K.Kurien, CEO of WIPRO says “There is a very big difference between the anarchy that comes out of consensus and the alignment that comes out of consensus”. In every staff meeting the author had always striven for the operational, functional alignment that comes out of consensus emerging from a full scale discussion.
The author had always felt that a staff who needs tutoring has to be coached, but a staff who needs performance management is assessed, reviewed and rejuvenated; that a staff who feels he is a future Principal is assigned stressful tasks which will try and test him. While the author always believed in consensus and wanted to take the staff along with him, he always used to go to any staff meeting or Principals’ Conference, fully prepared with research and back up material and challenge others to disprove his position. He never allowed any staff to sit on the fence.
The surest way to keep your dreams on track is to constantly interact with your catchment area. In all the places the author had worked – Cochin, Avadi, Sambalpur, Coimbatore, Chennai, Delhi, he had carefully nurtured his relationships with important parents, local VIPs, local State and Central Govt establishments, private firms, factories, so that the school can derive maximum benefit from them. He was opening doors for the school.
You may have two types of staff – Those whom you have hired and those whom you have inherited. You have to win the credibility of the latter. You have to feed their ego, go with them and slowly steer them to your line. That is what Mrs.Shika Sarma did when she took over as the CEO of AXIS Bank. The first 120 days she took stock of her people – know them inside out and then in the next 180 days put her plan into action. Like her, adopt a gradualist’s approach – changing the school from within in a way that only you can -unobtrusive, bereft of loud thumping but still focused and determined
Talking to a Times of India reporter, Indra Nooyi, Chairman & CEO of PEPSI CO, said “each CEO puts thei
r own stamp on a company.” Like that, the school must have your stamp on it. This is what the author learnt from his mentor, Sri.T.S.Avinashilingam who advised him June 1962 when he assumed office as Dy. Director, “in every village Panchayat Samiti office, in every District Development Council meeting, in every Directors Conference, in every class, in every meeting you address, you must leave your stamp – something for which they will ever remember you”.
In every KV, the conduct of the KVS 9th jamboree in Hyderabad
At Delhi, the Community Singing with 5000 students
At Sambalpur, the Career Festival and Open Book Examination
At Coimbatore, the Inplant Experience Program
At HVF Avadi, the Triple Athletic Meet and managing the picketing /gheroeing by HVF workers
At Cochin,the Lighting Ceremony
At AFS Avadi , the leveling of the undulating ground
On all these occasions, the author left his stamp.
VOLUME IV CHAPTER VIII
KEEPING DREAMS ON TRACK
MAKE EVERY VISITOR YOUR FAN
When you assume office as the Principal you sit on the chair with a sense of fulfilment, a sense of achievement and a sense of satisfaction. At the same time you also have in your mind a set of hopes, a set of ambitions, a set of expectations and a set of dreams.
Expectation lead to dreams, dream should lead to action and action should result in achievement. So the important question is to keep your dreams – dreams of going high up, dreams of establishing yourself, dreams of gaining a status and acquiring a stature. Let us see what measures you have to take to keep your dreams on track.
To start with it will be good for you take some lessons from life of King Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar. In his b
ook “Amukta Maalyata”, the King wants the lords or palayakars to be kind and lenient while collecting taxes in a way as we use “water to clean a mud wall”. The King came closer to his palayakaras with kind words and help. And, he also gave ready audience to them so that they never became inimical to him and move away. He always moved throughout the kingdom stamping the peoples mind with charisma and power.
Apply these ideas to your work; be soft while trying to rectify the mistakes of your staff. Bind yourself to them with affection and kindness. Whenever any staff member wishes to see you, know that he or she will not disturb you unless it is urgent or important. So, receive them immediately and address their grievances. Never confine yourself to your room. Move around the school often. Being visible is a must. But, it is not necessary that you should be loud. A glance, a wink, a gesture, a smile, a stare – this is enough to reveal your mind.
In 2011, when Mamtha Banerjee became the Chief Minister of West Bengal, she chose Amith Mitra as her Finance Minister, U.D.Chobey, former Chairman- Gail (Gas Authority of India Ltd), she said of Amith Mitra:- “He has a good intelligence quotient, but better emotional quotient. When he meets someone, he immediately understands that person and steps into his shoes and within a few minutes, that person becomes Mitra’s fan”
You can realise your dreams if you have a better EC. If you understand very soon the person in front of you and identify yourself with his pain, problem or perception, you can gain him as your admirer.
The author had the good fortune to be associated with a teacher (who remained single throughout her life) who finally bequeathed her life time savings of Rs.5 Lakhs to the School which she served for 36 years with great dedication and devotion, for the purpose of developing Maths and Language Labs. She has requested the author not to mention her name any time. She was visited by Cancer at the age of 45 and she told the staff and doctors “every year you keep me alive, the visits of Santa Claus will increase”. She used to donate something to the school every year.
If you surround yourself with teachers of this timbre and tone you can surely keep your dreams on track with their help.
While at school the author had read the story of an old lady who was selling lemons and taking care of her orphaned grandson also. That boy was unable to get a job. She had heard that Akbar used to meet his Guru Salim Chisti every day and he used to be in a good mood at that time. The old lady decided to capitalise on that moment and moved. She stationed herself a little before the entrance to the Guru’s house where the King usually get down from his horse and walked towards the Guru’s house. The old lady salaamed him, gave a lemon and said, “Oh King, this is my son. Instead of he supporting me, I support him. Please give him a job and save me”.
The King sympathized with her condition and asked his personal guard to take him to the Army Commander and enlist him in the army.
This story came to author mind in 1976 while he was Principal of KV Coimbatore. It was emergency time. Madam Indira Gandhi,Prime Minister was scheduled to visit Coimbatore. The District collector Sri.S.Narashiman was the Chairman of the KV Management Committee and had a soft corner for the author and proud of “his KV”. He had included the author’s name in the list of officers and public representatives who should be at the airport to receive the PM.
It so happened that the school inspection by the Assistant Commissioner Mrs. G.Krishnanand had fallen during the PM’s visit. The author was in a dilemma as to how he can receive the PM leaving the Assistant Commissioner in the school. When he spoke to the Collector’s PA he was told that the list has been finalised and no new name can be added. Then the author suddenly remembered the old lady story and set to enact a similar one. Normally the Collector used to leave his bungalow at 9 a.m. to his office after prayer and breakfast. So the author stood at the bungalow gate, a little inside on the left side of the driver so that the Collector could see him even from a distance. As the car neared the gate, seeing the author the Collector stopped the car got out and asked- “why my KV principal standing at the gate!”
The author explained the difficult embarassing situation in which he was placed and requested the Collector to substitute the Assistant Commissioner’s name in his place. The Collector said: – “No, my Principal should come and the Assistant Commissioner will also come as my personal guest. When a Principal stands at the gate and makes a request, how can I say no? I am deeply moved by your respect for authority and even lose a very rare life- time opportunity like receiving the PM. When many local VIP have requested me to include them, you are prepared to forego that. What a selfless sacrifice.” Then, he asked the author to come with him to the office and have tea with him. He asked his PA to include the Assistant Commissioner’s name and then directed him to have the author dropped back at the KV. The Assistant Commissioner was elated to hear that he can also receive the PM.
Having your boss on your side is very important to keep your dreams on track.
ONE WHO KNOWS (VOL 4 – CHAPTER VII & VIII)
– DIMENSIONS OF A PRINCIPAL –
268) One who knows that
NA+ ALAM + DA = NALANDA
Means no stopping the gift of knowledge and so tries to make his school a NALANDA.
269) One who knows that
The wish of man may not
Match the will of God
His plan of action must be
Enriched by an action plan.
270) One who knows that discipline is expending time and energy, trying not to do things he really wants to do or forcing himself to do something that his mind and body rebel against.
271) One who knows that
Dreams and aspirations are greater motivators and means of achieving goals.
His dream should be such a compelling motivator that he should be seduced into working towards it.
Why? He should be ‘Flogged’ into pursuing his own dreams.
272) One who knows that when motivation is strong, he can create his own rules and routes towards it and that it is a form of self- discipline that is pleasurable and welcome, that he can look forward to the time spent in that structure once his rhythm matches the pace and he can set himself towards his goal.
273) One who knows that he has to learn and earn the right to be disciplined as it carries a great responsibility and that when he gives up a beaten track and choose his own drummer, you have a great responsibility towards himself.
274) One who knows following Confucius’s words that if he wishes to establish himself he has to seek to establish others and that if he wishes to enlarge himself, he has to seek to enlarge others.
275) One who knows that his lesson would stay true to its soul if it replays in the students’ mind long after he has left his class.
276) One who continuously keeps future- proofing his school and thinks everyday of what is the next big thing likely to happen.
277) One who knows that there should be a beginning and end in every step he takes with a continuous movement in his steps.
278) One who knows to become a “Nobody” to become “Somebody” and to let go of all that he is clinging to.
279) One who knows that every problem has N+ 1 solutions, N being what he has tried and 1 yet to be tried by him.
280) One who knows that if he feels others are responsible for his problems, then he has a serious problem of allowing others to create problems for him.
281) One who is on the path of learning, growing and evolving and not on the path of proving, destroying and persisting.
282) One who questions himself
How much of what I know
Have I understood?
And begins to understand what he knows.
283) One who cares for his pupils’ growth and allows them to grow.
284) One who knows that what he sees is not what it is and advances beyond his perception to explore the truth.
285) One who knows that to reach a new place he should take a new route and by taking the old route he may not be able to reach the place he wishes to reach.
286) One who knows that if he wants his rocket to soar, he has to burn the fuel called ‘I’ and that how much he is willing to burn decides his success.
287) One who says:-
“If I stop learning, then who will increase the world’s store of knowledge”.
288) One who knows that fearing criticism will pull down, while welcoming criticism will push him up.
289) One who knows to love the other person even when he doesn’t need his help or service.
290) One who knows that when he looks down upon another, he is oblivious to how ugly he looks within.
291) One who knows to ask,
How much do I know of myself ? so that he can know how much he doesn’t know about others.
292) One who knows to value and relate to himself and see the unity between himself and X and not the difference.
293) One who knows that conflict arises only when he is not committed to his commitment.
294) One who knows that when he wants to see another as he wants him to be, then he must also accept that the other person would want to see him as he wants him to be and so both should try to be themselves and try to see what brings them together and not what separates them.
295) One who knows that if a staff member moves away from him, he should find out what action or word of his has distanced that staff from him.
296) One who knows that if he can’t keep his word, he can’t expect others to do so.
297) One who knows that he should not expect a staff to be an angel or a devil as both may turn out to be wrong.
298) One who tries always to find if he is doing what for he blamed others and that when he ridicules another for rigidity, he must first find out how rigid he is.
299) One who asks himself,
What do I want to get out of life?
Am I focussed to get it?
EMINENT THINKERS (VOL 4 – CHAPTER VII & VIII)
(Whose ideas have been adapted for Education Management)
- Prof. Walter Michael
- Prof. Frank Brown
- Emilia Clarke
- R. L. Stevenson
- Alain de Botton
- Dan Harmon
- L. Shanthi – Violonist
- Dizzy Dean
- Pope Francis
- Peter Higgs
- Aruna Sairam
- Guru Nanak
- Lawrence Durrell
- Sudha Raghunathan
- Unni Krishnan
- A. K. Mehrotra ( Translator of Kabir)
- Soyarabai ( Marathi poet)
- Alexander Kupbin
- Pope Francis
- Nandalal Bose
- K.G. Subramaniam
- Gene Simmons
- Randall Munroe
- Jeb Lund
- George Martin
- John Lovett
- Billy Graham
- Kachiapa Sivachariar ( Kanda Puranam)
- Chanakya Arthasastra
- Tim Ryan
Discipline is the mark of intelligent living – Sri Sathya Sai Baba
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