Opinion
Education Opinion

When the Boss Says, ‘I Think,’ the Thinking Stops

By Chris Hitch — October 22, 2010 1 min read

While on the plane from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) airport to Raleigh last month, I got the chance to sit next to Steve, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army. We talked about children, sports, and rivalry between UNC and Duke in basketball and how it compares with Texas and Texas A&M in football.

I asked him after a bit to share a piece of wisdom that he had learned in working with the young enlisted men and women. He thought for half a second, then mentioned, “The biggest piece of wisdom I got in terms of working with my teams is to remember that when the boss says, ‘I think,’ the thinking stops. I have to remember to keep my mouth shut and listen to my team members. “

“Just because I’m above them in the chain of command doesn’t mean that I can have or should have all of the right answers. I have to put a muzzle on my mouth. Even though I have may have the right answer, I need to give the others a chance to give their ideas and thoughts. I may have to have the final answer, but if I give them the opportunity to figure out how to solve the problem, they’ve bought into it and will push to make it happen.”

The best leaders put a great deal of effort into defining the issue/challenge/opportunity and the parameters. They focus on the “what”, “when”, and “why,” but have their team focus on the “how” within the parameters that were set.

Thanks, Steve, for reminding me of a great leadership lesson. Most of all, thank you and your fellow service men and women for their sacrifice and service.

The opinions expressed in LeaderTalk are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read