MO Leadership Development System

Dr. Jim Masters Continues to "Unpack" MLDS

Missouri Leadership Development System Unpacking the Managerial Domain

September 7, 2018


In the last installment of this series, we unpacked the domain of instructional leadership. In putting that piece together, one article was a real attention getter. Not because there was any disagreement with what the author was saying, the observations noted were spot on. It was just the way the introductory excerpt struck an interesting note:


“Instructional leadership requires principals to free themselves of bureaucratic tasks and focus their efforts on improving teaching and learning” (B. Jenkins, NAESP, 2009)


Instructional leadership. Yes. Focus on improving teaching and learning. Absolutely. Free me of bureaucratic tasks. In what fantasy?! The practical realities acknowledged by the author served to confirm that management obligations have seemingly endless ways of inserting themselves into your best-laid plans. Consequently, the Managerial domain, of the MLDS, speaks to the juggling act that accompanies coordinating time, money, people, policy, practice, events, resources, and things. Sound familiar?


Within the MLDS, the Managerial domain breaks down as follows:


  • Implements operational systems
  • Oversees personnel
  • Ensures the equitable and strategic use of resources


Implementing operational systems speaks to the complex interactions, coordination, and structures required to actually run a school. Oversight of personnel requires attention to be paid to the needs, wants, and demands of the human side of the education equation and is not limited to faculty and staff. Ensuring the equitable distribution of resources acknowledges the constant battle between growing needs and expectations and limited resources.


The MLDS pays particular attention to that most often requested resource that seems to be in the shortest supply – Time. The effective application of this most limited resource requires a deep understanding of how time is allocated, interrupted, and managed. Doing so requires more than a nifty day planner. It takes an intentional approach to execute the use of a principal’s most influential asset, a firm grasp of the capacities of your faculty and support staff, and thoughtful planning that not only creates space for effective leadership activity but also elevates the practice of the adults that serve at your side.


It is possible to be a knowledgeable and skillful leader, however, in the absence of the productive use of your time, what you know and can do is of little consequence. On the flipside, having sufficient time to address the demands of leadership means little if a principal is of limited knowledge and skill. The aim of the MLDS is to work both sides of the leadership coin. Knowledgeable and skillful leadership coupled with systems, practices, and procedures that create the space for effective leadership practice.


No one is coming to free you from the bureaucratic demands of leadership service. Time was, an effective manager could be viewed as an excellent principal. As the expectation of educational outcomes has moved from competence to excellence, it is no longer enough to just keep the chalk in the chalk tray or, if that seems a little dated, make sure everyone’s device is logged in, however, strong management skills continue to figure prominently in an effective leader’s toolbox. Participation in the MLDS provides an excellent opportunity to develop your leadership abilities.


Call your RPDC leadership development specialist today and find out what meaningful support and development can do for your leadership practice.


Please accept this as an invitation to elevate your leadership practice by contacting the leadership development specialist at your regional professional development center.