Introspection, evaluation and change happens when individuals and organizations honestly strive to become exceptional and wish to reach their optimum potential. We do this prior to Yom Kippur, sometimes with the aid of the classical mussar/teshuva seferim. Every so often schools also need to take stock of where they are and where they could be. Improvement is always a worthy goal.
Outside, objective observers can often help schools elevate their effectiveness on many levels. School management consultants observe the variety of organizational styles in schools and how they affect the management-by-objectives programs adopted by many schools. One analysis has adopted a classification system to help determine how best to accomplish school objectives. Most schools operate with one of three types that we shall designate as Model X, Y or Z.
Model X leadership is autocratic and manipulative. A Model X school leader often imposes performance objectives without teacher input or participation in the formulation of goals. The purpose of a Model X school model is to gain control over school operations and increase productivity from school personnel.
A Model X school is primarily evaluative, and emphasizes rewards and penalties. Unfortunately, Model X leaders are looked upon by staff as police rather than mentors. As a result this engenders anxiety, distrust, poor morale and resistance from school personnel.
The X model might achieve temporary results but is ultimately self-defeating. That’s because people with high levels of anxiety tend to set unrealistically low objectives. So, rather than risk jeopardizing their personal security by tackling complex and more important problems, personnel often opt for easily measured and attainable objectives.
Model Y schools are humanistic. They focus on the individual and are often concerned with “self-actualization” and personal growth. Model Y leaders allow teachers to set their own personal results-oriented goals. Often, however, they exclude themselves from these improvement programs. A Model Y school sacrifices the advantages of allowing teachers’ personal objectives to be aligned and then systematically linked with overall objectives. Monitoring achievements in the Y model is often difficult since individual success is measured by the personal satisfaction of doing a job better or of improving administrative performance.
The meeting of objectives in the Y model is inconsistent because it is a personal and not an organizational system. It fails to unify staff toward the achievement of organizational goals. Most importantly, individual enthusiasm in the Y system diminishes without systematic monitoring, achievement recognition and a broader view of the school system.
A Model Z school is rational and cooperative. Its aim is effectiveness. In the Z model, the school board, the principal(s) and all administrators exert leadership and participate in the development of objectives — along with the teachers. Model Z calls for and requires a united effort. It is future oriented.
Model Z school leadership carefully designs a system for defining staff functions, aligning performance standards for each position and task, developing objectives and standards by consensus, and developing and implementing methods of measurement. As a result Model Z allows for monitoring and evaluation of procedures. The emphasis is on increasing individual and organizational effectiveness. Hence, leaders in a Model Z school recognize achievement and provide support when needed.
A Model Z school is results oriented rather than activity oriented. Therefore, faculty have latitude to devise the creative means by which they can achieve their goals. Teachers also understand their relationship to the rest of the school organization, i.e., the significance of their contributions to the school’s overall objectives.
Model Z schools — obviously the preferred model — are dynamic, flexible and self-correcting. They are neither autocratic (Model X) nor laissez-faire (Model Y). Instead, Model Z schools depend on the commitment and the participation of every administrator. Most importantly, Model Z works.
Rabbi Dr. Wallace Greene is a veteran day school educator and consultant.