17 November 2006

The Bottom Line

One always expects a few changes when you're working for a new admin. Every boss is a little different in terms of his or her expectations and management style. Up until now, though, they have all had some things in common. The new Boss Lady, however, has been a bit of a puzzlement. And now that I'm starting to get things figured out, I'm not so sure I like what I see.

The previous Boss Lady had her quirks, but you could count on two things. First, she was always there to back you up when it counted. It didn't mean that the two of might not disagree in private, but she was always your champion in public. There was a sense of trust and safety...a feeling of mentorship. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, you knew that her bottom line was "Is it good for kids?" That was the ultimate filter. Yes, you needed input from stakeholders. People who would be impacted deserved a voice in process. But at the end of the day, if something was a good thing for kids, then she was willing to take a few hits from unhappy adults.

The bottom line with the Boss Lady 2.0 is very different. Her filter is "Will this make me look good?" This is a little frightening in some ways. It means that all of us in Curriculum will be left hung out to dry. She might understand the issues and agree with the problems in private, but she is not going to publicly support you. It also means that our roles become something akin to popularity contests with the boss. In order to get ahead, you're going to have to make someone else look really bad. You'll have to shine...but not moreso than her. You'll need a posse at meetings in order to pushover another group, because there's no way the Boss Lady is going to mediate. She'll just smile upon the winner while jackals have at the loser.

There are already several examples of this afoot, but it's taken awhile to figure out just what the motivation is. The question then becomes "Do I (and do others in Curriculum) really want to work in that environment?" I have to think hard about my own bottom line.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I swear I get down on my knees and thank the Good Lord that my principal is a lot like the first one - her mantra is "What's best for the kids." Always. She is a dream to work for.

The Science Goddess said...

I understand that being an admin is a job rife with politics and diplomacy. But those who enjoy the game more than the reasons for doing it are dangerous.

I envy you!