April 13, 2007

why hierarchy sucks

I had lots of time to think today. I spent most of it waiting 4.5 hours to talk to my principal. And what I thought about, in that time, is how extremely important it is for leaders of all sorts (principals, teachers, presidents) to be accessible. I used to be able to drop by the director's office at the outdoor ed program where I worked, and I talked to my direct boss in depth at least every other week. It was part of my job and his job, and it meant that I always knew where I stood. The other outdoor ed program was bigger, so we had forms to get signed and mandatory short check-ins every other week, but if you wanted to talk to someone they'd schedule you a time. You can have more formal systems too, like having office hours or a meeting every day or week that's reserved for employees or a secretary who'll make an appointment for you, but you gotta be able to get in touch with your boss. Especially if you're trying to set up some kind of special something for your organization that needs your boss's approval.

What does not work is asking people to stand outside your door at random times until you decide they're worth talking to.

What also does not work is telling them you'll meet with them at a specific time, then disappearing at that time with no explanation or apology.

And if you need a definition of adding insult to injury, it's having your boss finally meet with you, then interrupt the meeting every 30 seconds to talk to someone else.

I'm not saying I'm so important. But I'd feel better about my job and my work if I got treated like I mattered some. Even worse, this is moving up in the world compared to some.

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