Adaptive Leadership for Complex Decision-making in Extraordinary Times

Type: Article
Topics: Journal of Scholarship and Practice

February 09, 2024

Journal of Scholarship and Practice Winter 2023-24In a recent conversation, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that democracy doesn’t work anymore. He argued that democracy requires consensus, which can be time-consuming in a fast-moving world. Xi’s remedy is that only autocracies are equipped to address the extraordinary challenges of modern times.

Every time has its extraordinary challenges, along with those leaders who contend that they alone can find and force a solution through an autocratic approach. Every time, however, also has those who embrace a democratic approach to governance. The tensions between these beliefs are universal and timeless. In current times, we are seeing them play out within our country and across the globe with great intensity.

Similarly, school organizations, not unlike larger governmental systems, are undergirded by implicit theories of leadership on a continuum from autocracy to democracy. No matter the theory, educators within the system experience and understand how they are being governed. They also react and function in response to how they are being led. Repressive leadership generates resistance and recalcitrance. Collaborative leadership engenders engagement and esprit de corps that can assist in cultivating a climate for creative responses to problems facing the system.

Gifted leadership is a rarity. It is more common that those thrust into positions of authority must develop their leadership skills, which do not come with formal appointment or self-proclamation. It takes work to become a forward-thinking leader. It also takes humility through acceptance that one does not always have the answers.

Author

Ken Mitchell, EdD

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