Who’s the Boss?

22 12 2011

My bet is on Alyssa Milano

My favorite Tony Danza will always be the Angles in the Outfield Tony Danza. However, I was strangely drawn to the Who’s the Boss Tony Danza as well. Truth be told, it probably had something to do with Alyssa Milano, but I digress. The real purpose of this post is that the question of “who’s the boss” goes much deeper than TV comedy. The struggle to answer this question reaches far into the depths of our organizations and actions.

A great example of this struggle is in my 8th grade class. Now I don’t remember ever being as bold or annoying as some of my 8th graders, although I probably was, but sometimes my students are annoyingly bold! Note: if you’re one of my 8th graders reading this post, and you’re wondering if this is about you, it’s not. The students this post refers to know who they are and are proud that they’ve made a blog post. It always seems that they struggle to know, or a better word: remember, who the boss really is. In case you’re wondering, in my classroom it’s me!

Sometimes, my annoyingly bold students forget this and decide they are going to set the pace of class. They suggest (demand) that we do this exercise instead of that one. They want to work in groups instead of by themselves, or they’d rather work by themselves than in groups. They have concluded that since the subject mater is boring they don’t have to participate in the learning. The best part is that this is not an internal decision, this is an external demand.

Enter the boss. Usually at this juncture, I make a joke and then remind my students that’s not the way room 302 works. Now, this may sound a lot like, “because I’m the teacher and I said so,” let me assure you IT IS! This is not because I am some cruel classroom dictator, although some of my students would beg to differ. I have set the vision of where our class needs to go for the week. This weekly lesson plan is a part of the unit that is set by their education standards. There is purpose for the day’s actions. While there are times we can scrap the lesson plan and follow some “educational” tangent, my students will not dictate how the day will proceed. When they try, I remind them, “that decision is not yours to make.”

Question: Are you allowing people in your organization to make decisions that aren’t theirs to make?

You see, whether you’re the teacher

or the “boss” your job is to be the leader and make the decisions. And while we strive to make decisions that will benefit the entire class or team, we can’t always make the most popular decision. Sometimes you have to make the unpopular decision because that’s what is best for the long term vision.

Don’t let short sighted people make decisions that affect the long term vision!

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2 responses

9 01 2012
Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Your article here is great. But, your quote at the end is what I will take away from it. If we let short-sighted people impact our outcomes, we are doomed to fail.

9 01 2012
Mason Conrad Stanley

Dale, thank you for the kind words. What is unfortunate is that most of the time the short-sighted people are the loudest, pushiest people. If a leader isn’t a strong leader it’s extremely difficult to get past the near-nearsightedness of these people.

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