Sunday, January 09, 2011

Managing Tensions

Listening to a leadership podcast from Andy Stanley recently, he mentioned the difference between problems to solve and tensions to manage. I see this played out in schools all the time.

Phonics versus comprehension

Improving our current practices versus adding something new

Direct instruction versus inquiry

Academic focus versus whole child

Stanley says the key is not to allow one side to win the argument. Eliminating that tension would lead to an imbalance. He has taught his leadership team to use the language: "That's not a problem to solve, it's a tension to manage". I think schools would do well to adopt this approach to issues such as this. Finding that right balance will unleash creativity and improe effectiveness in every area of our work.

Photo Credit: JLMPhoto

1 comment:

sylvia said...

Interesting concept. Douglas Reeves in his book The Daily Disciplines of Leadership also says that a "student needs to be provoked into deliberate dissatisfaction, reflection, and hard work before the genuine happiness of discovery and learning can take place."