I believe that we must confront these respectively – our commitment should be to helping our current personnel to become their best, as opposed to relieving them of their duties in the face of possible underperformance. Sure, the law gives us the option to remove a staff member so long as we follow certain protocol. But, what does this say to our obligation to perform as leaders? I believe that if we are called to lead, then we owe it to our followers to entice them into wanting to follow our lead.
I don’t read Hoekstra’s adage as an option – I read it as a challenge. Use your God-given leadership gifts to lead those around you to become the best they can be so that your organization can be the best it can be. If you refuse to take up this challenge, then you better be prepared to face the consequences. The consequences in this case might be heartache, lawsuits, financial obligations, broken relationships, or sin against God’s call on our lives. In other words, this is serious.
The primary job of leaders is not to remove people “from the bus” but to create a culture that helps all those on the bus to be and become active participants in the making of an exceptional organizational culture. Thomas Sergiovanni describes the job of the educational leader as: “articulating school purposes and mission; socializing new members to the school; telling stories and maintaining or reinforcing myths, traditions, and beliefs; explaining “the way things operate around here”; developing and displaying a system of symbols….over time; and rewarding those who reflect this culture.” The result of this, says Sergiovanni is “to bond students, teachers, and others together and to bind them to the work of the school as believers” (137).
I was once given the advice that I needed to make decisions that would be easier in the long run, not in the short run. In situations of working with people, I believe that this often means we need to choose the hard work of developing those who follow. Are there situations where the bus needs to be forcefully evacuated? Yes. But only as a contingency plan.
Sergiovanni, T. (2009). The principalship: A reflective practice perspective (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson.