VOLUME IV CHAPTER XV
CONSTANTLY SHARPEN YOUR AXE
Going through a period of pain, you should make your vision a reality from a Teacher to a Principal and on to an Educationist- that should be your journey.
Be constantly learning at work from everyone like Lord Dattatreya , be self- motivated, self critical and passionate about what you do . Don’t say “after all I am a teacher” but say boldly and proudly , “ I am a teacher”.
Once a wood cutter got a job from a timber merchant, was given an axe and shown the area where he was expected to fell trees.
At the end of the first day he brought 20 trees, 15 on the second, 10 on the third and five on the fourth. He thought he was losing his strength and apologised to his master, who asked him “When did you sharpen your axe last?”. The woodcutter replied, “ sharpen! I had no time for it. I have been very busy cutting trees”.
Don’t be like the wood-cutter, update your knowledge and skills. Otherwise, you will become obsolete and sidelined. Your M.A Degree got at the age of 22 will not be useful to you at 52. What you had learnt is not enough. “Good is not good enough when better is expected”. Your success depends on your sharpness in every aspect.
Osho, the great thinker of Pune once posed four questions:-
- Should a crime be punished ?
- After the punishment, will crime disappear?
- Will the punishment change him?
- Can a person be punished without punishment?
People should know that you will not be smiling always. You may be tempted to punish . But your punishment should not be deterrent but also reformative. Once a mistake is ‘ punished’, that person will not remember it. Because of the punishment, he will remember only the pain of the punishment, but if you forgive him that will be a greater punishment, because it will make him feel for his mistake at the same time. Don’t forgive often because the mistake will become a ‘habit’. So your punishment should create a pain in his mind, make him repent and reform himself.
As Jeffrey Imeldt, Chairman of GE said, “Failures are great learning tools, but they must be kept to a minimum.”
Relatives are friends by chance and compulsion. But friends are relatives by choice. Among your staff, only those who can read the words in your silence and the love in your anger are your “real relatives”.
Only the charioteer knows the art of controlling the horses because he knows them individually. Be a charioteer.
A home-maker knows how to keep everyone in the home happy catering to their individual tastes, be a home-maker
An Animal is hidden inside every person. The animal in you should be able to identify the animal in another person and either retreat or wipe it off.
The author could manage successfully because he adopted all these tactics as per necessity – “ Situational management”
Your relationship with your boss should be based on 5 parameters:-
- Your boss’s active involvement in your career development
- Your communication with your boss
- Recognition received from your boss
- Overall relationship with your boss
- Your boss’s managerial effectiveness
How to get the better of the boss? This is an art. The author knew of an officer in an organisation who had a mysterious sway over all the Heads who were posted there. A peculiar smile, apparently very endearing, but concealing many things deep below. A Man Friday, for all occasions with an ingenious network capable of getting even tiger’s milk- making the impossible possible – never a ‘ no’….No head could survive without his backing…. A man for all seasons. Every Head understood that he can be a rose as well as a thorn. Better to keep him always in good humour. Since he had the know-how to access the higher ups – knew which lever to operate and the “emotional accupuncture points”.
One boss could make a few spineless creatures bend, curl and crank; because the latter knew that he could block their exit points or evaporate them. No Somdevvarman against Djokovitch!
There is an unequal power distribution between the boss and you.You may respond in 3 ways as Prof. Mathukuttymonipally of IIM Ahmedabad suggests:-
You may mortgage your self- respect and apple polish your boss.
Or you can assign it to fate to work like a Roman slave.
Or you may form an union and stare at him.
Is there another way? Yes, to build yourself up based on your work. Make your boss depend on you and be averse to do anything that may affect his well-being. You need not make a show of your indispensability. Any threat of leaving may backfire. Make him feel afraid of losing you – just like a kidnapper threatening to kill the hostage-but he won’t. He wouldn’t like to lose his trumpcard. Your power lies in keeping your boss guessing. Use your personal power like a silken cord.
When you are the boss sometimes you may have to go in for surgery when it is a festering wound. One Commissioner of KVS, just unable to tolerate the arm twisting tactics of the Association, just dismissed the office bearers from KVS service- an one time Bofors gun shot. He said, “Let them fight it out upto supreme court by which time they would have lost steam and become spent bullets”.
The author’s mentor Sri. T. S. Avinashilingam used to say, “ When a person submits a resignation letter with 3 months notice , you accept it immediately waiving the notice period. Because only his body will be here. His mind has already left for the new institution . His work will be half baked . So, it will be a big loss for the students. Why should they be punished for no fault of theirs ? You save his 3 months notice and relieve him immediately. It is a win-win situation for both. Rev. Ayya always had a practical approach to any problem.
There is also a lighter side to the life of a Principal’s daily grind. Once the author received a letter from a language teacher saying “ I request you to kindly grant me leave on the last working day as I have to celebrate my daughter’s second marriage”. On scrutiny of his service book , it was found that he wanted to celebrate his second daughter’s marriage!
On another occasion, the author was amused to hear about a Principal who always referred to himself whenever any staff requested for leave.
A teacher asked for leave because of headache. The Principal said, “I also have slight headache. I have applied a balm and come to office”.
A teacher asked for leave to admit his mother in the hospital. The Principal said, “when my mother also was sick, I went early to the hospital, got her admitted and then came to the office”.
When a teacher asked for leave to help his wife who is expected to deliver at any time, the Principal said:-
“ When my wife also was in the same condition, I helped her and then came to office without applying for leave”
But, one day he sanctioned leave immediately.
A master told him, “ Sir my wife has deserted me and left for her parent’s house. I have to go and get her”.
Due to habit, the Principal started saying “my wife also……..” . Immediately bit his tongue, and said, “ Take leave and get lost”.
ONE WHO KNOWS (VOL 4 – CHAPTER XV)
– Dimensions of the Life and Work of a Principal –
421. One who that has to be a clay-court specialist or a grass-court specialist or a hard-court specialist as the circumstances demand.
422. One who knows that present day students are,
- community centered
- always clicking
423. One who knows that when he reduces the quantity of his thoughts, he can observe a remarkable increase in the quality of his thoughts.
424. One who knows that the moment he allows the child in him to disappear , he can’t be a teacher.
425. One for whom
- perfection is acceptable
- excellence is tolerable
- failure is unendurable
426. One who knows that nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.
427. One who wants the staff to be mountain goats training their young ones to climb the mountain and not like vultures training their young ones to look down for their prey.
428. One who knows that no matter who one is , where he is or what he is, there is always a leader inside him.
429. One who knows that life keeps throwing opportunities for us to transform and all we have to do is – focus, channelise our energy , do the right things until we discover the leader within us.
430. One who knows that the child is an amorphous splendid being in search of his own proper form.
431. One who knows that success is moving from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm and the number of setbacks one has suffered have each been an opportunity masked in a crisis.
432. One who knows that his action must be an expression of his erudition.
433. One who knows that he shouldn’t judge a student’s or a staff’s position until he walked his journey.
434. One who knows that students can make wise decisions when given the freedom.
435. One who knows that showering love is the best reward and also withdrawal of love is the worst punishment.
436. One who knows that it is foolish that we are responsible for all our successes, when the person who is the embodiment of all talent is in front of and behind us always-God.
437. One who knows that he is good only so long as he is not pitched against someone better.
438. One who knows that everybody is a genius. But it is wrong to judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree.
439. One who knows that if he compares himself with the incomparable, then he has a sure recipe for disaster.
440. One who knows that he should not be angry like Shiva but be angry like Radha.
441.One who knows that from his present state of Upadhyaya, he has to elevate himself progressively to the states of Adyaksha like Santhibini, to Acharya like Ramanujacharya, to Guru like Vasishta and then to Tatwadarshi like Krishna.
442. One who knows to play the roles of
- A window cleaner
- A window cleaner
- A guide
- A friend
- A sculptor
- A gardener
- A weighing scale
443. One who asks his staff,
by which one of the following two, you would be like to be referred in future by your students.
- I always remember him
- I can never forget him
444. One who knows to give his student a feeling that he is slightly smarter than himself, then it will be his pleasure to live with that student.
445. One who knows that he has to overcome the perils of pedantry, that pomposity has the danger of debilitating him, that being partisan will lead to a perilous existence and he should never toot his own horn
446. One who directs his staff to go out and understand the end user’s signal from the homes, bring the data and tell him what will work and what will not and what new initiatives have to be taken.
EMINENT THINKERS (VOL 4 – CHAPTER XV)
(Whose ideas have been adapted for Education Management)
308. Vinitha Singhani ( MD – JK Lakshmi Cement)
309. Subhalakshmi Panse ( CMD – Allahabad Bank)
310. Swarupa Sanyal ( Head of Strategy Genpact)
311. Anjali Bansal ( MD. Spencer Stuart)
312. Murthyk Uppaluru ( CEO- Randsted – India)
313. Mike Wallace ( Anchor – CBS TV)
314. Albert Schweitzer
315. Pearl S. Buck
316. E. K. Ross
317. G. H. Lewis
318. Simon Weil
319. Max Frisch
320. W. H. Auden
321. Elizabeth Kublern Ross
322. George Sand
323. John Wooden
324. St. Augustine
325. R. G. Ingersoll
326. Brian Greene
327. Noam Chohumsky
328. Lao Tsu
329. Persian proverb
330. J.C. Comman Weal
331. Nelson Mandela
The grace of GOD is like insurance. It will help you in your time of need without any limit. – Sri Sathya Sai Baba