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Excellent Leaders, Good Managers

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Change, they say, is the only thing which is constant in this world. As one goes through life, one undergoes and experiences many changes, which are either good or bad. These changes enhance one’s life when they are positive; but they upset the balance of things when they are negative.

And definitely, at the start of this school year, I have undergone a lot changes, not in my personal life, but in my career. And I must say that these changes, though most welcome, area also a source of stress, not to mention wakeful nights and pressure-filled days.

For two decades, I had been teaching Natural Science to first year students. All these years, I had been satisfied imparting knowledge to these kids; and I must say, I had found contentment at being a Teacher I, although sometimes some feelings of discontentment wiggle their way to my brain.

And so, it was a great shock to my system when at the start of last school year I was suddenly catapulted to being Officer-in-Charge of the Science Department of our school, to head and supervise more than 50 teachers, many of whom are far older than I!  It goes without saying that feelings I was very uncertain about accepting the task thrust upon me by our former department head, Mercia C. Bustamante and our school principal, Dr. Felisa I. Munar. This uncertainty and cautiousness on my part stemmed from my perceived lowly position in the hierarchy of teachers in the department.

However, after a lot of thought and consultation with my better half, I agreed to become the OIC of our department. I rationalized that with the guidance of the more senior department heads and with the support of my colleagues I will make it through in a few months, until a new head shall have been named.It goes without saying that somehow, being chosen to be at the helm of our department was an affirmation of the principal’s confidence in my leadership abilities.

And now, after almost a year, I have come to realize a few things. First, being a head teacher (especially as an O-I-C and a Teacher-I at that!) is not an easy task as one gets to deal with different personalities in the department. Students are definitely easier to handle, even the most recalcitrant ones. Second, the adage, “You can’t please everybody, no matter what you do or how hard you try,” is never truer in this situation. Third, pressures abound at the top, especially when one is new at the task. Relative to this, mistakes are bound to happen, criticisms are sure to be rife, and resentments from disgruntled elements here and there are not unheard of.

And after almost a year, as OIC I have also learned that” you can become an excellent manager without becoming a good leader, but you cannot be an excellent leader without becoming a good manager” (www.people.vcu.edu/…ManagerLeaderQuotes.htm).

By Agnes M. Labayog




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