Brexit … and Your School

By BrettPawlowski

Last Thursday, an earthquake hit in international politics: Much to the surprise of pretty much everyone, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, an entity they had first joined (albeit in a different form) more than 40 years ago, and one that offered substantial diplomatic and trade benefits.

Why would they do such a thing? Simply put, the majority of UK citizens didn’t feel heard. They didn’t feel that they had a voice in the decisions made by the bureaucrats in Brussels, and they expected that situation to only get worse over time.

Leaving aside the wisdom of that particular decision (far beyond the scope of this US education blog), there’s an important lesson to be learned. If you want to lead – if you want people to buy in and support your plans – you have got to make sure they feel like stakeholders and partners, not like voiceless serfs or subjects.

If you run an academy or a CTE program, make sure your teachers feel like they have a voice in the plans that are made and how those plans are executed. Same goes for your students, parents, business partners, and any other stakeholders you need in order to realize your (shared) vision.

Because if you don’t have that support – if your stakeholders don’t feel heard – they’ll vote themselves out, either by leaving or by not supporting your plans. A little bit of effort spent truly listening, and taking the needs and interests of your stakeholders into account, will determine whether you succeed together or fail on your own.