Really appreciate your support on steering us in line with effective leadership.

I have a consultancy job at hand to reengineer a school. I have strategized for two terms out of the three terms signed in our contract but seems not to be getting a head way.

The 8 directors of the school are not on same page in terms of objective, methodology and management style. I can see power tussle and attention/recognition seeking killing the top management of the school.

I have tried making them see things but some of them don’t even want me on board. The teachers have also broken into camps and only one camp out of three seems to be on my side. Likewise, only 2 out of 8 directors also believe I can actually change the system. The Teachers broke into camps in support of the director they selfishly like (perhaps because they got the job through them and enjoying job security)

Some directors are waiting for the contract period to end and they will fire me, and tongue lash my work.

With the third term ending without a significant change in the school, I will not just be tongue lashed but lose my reputation in that city. I am actually handicapped and cannot restructure anything on that campus

I am considering terminating the contract and seeking for a meeting with the directors.
This should give me an opportunity to make them see their individual differences and poor management style.

I believe they would all listen to me more when I am out of the scene, but plan just to sincerely advise them and leave.

What do you advise?

Answer

As you say, you need to preserve your reputation above all else.

I would call the meeting with the directors, but not terminate the contract before it. I would offer to terminate at the meeting if necessary.

Who holds the power here? You have not mentioned the Head of the school. Usually the directors or governors advise the Head, but the Head has the ultimate say in managing the school

Surely it is not a bad thing for the directors to have different views as long as the head gets to manage as they see fit? And that they all agree to abide by the principles agreed on?

Who called you in? Who pays your fees? I think that person has failed to pull everyone together, recognises it, and is looking to you to do that.

Normally in any group of management there is a process in place to decide on a unified approach, and that may be put to the vote, Once the vote is taken, everyone is bound to work to it, or resign. Don’t they have such a system? No wonder there is chaos and dissent.

I would try to facilitate a meeting with the directors to agree the objectives, methodology and management style. I would put it to them that in business, or politics, once a board or cabinet votes on a decision, it is expected that everyone adopts those principles or is expected to tender their resignation. They are not permitted to deviate from the agreed party line.

It might be a good plan to explain this to the chairman of the directors and /or the Head, prior to the meeting, and get their buy-in and backing.

The teachers shouldn’t have any say in the decisions about objectives, methodology and management style. Their job is to implement the policies and principles decided on by the management team. Don’t ask them, tell them.

I think management are looking to you for strong leadership, and Vision.

So my advice is – Implement the system I have outlined, facilitate a short period for agreement on objectives, methodology and management style, and enforce the system. Dissenters go!

Good luck