Power: The ability or the potential to influence decisions and control resources.
Sources of Power
Ownership–Power is diffused when many persons have the power.
Resources–If you can provide the resources needed, you have power.
Opportunity–Being at the right place at the right time.
Competence–Doing an excellent job, problem-solving skills, etc.
Proximity–Being close to power.
Power is good if it is used to further the goal of the organization. Power is negative if it is used to further one’s political objective and selfish motives.
People have unreasonable expectations for the school.
Parents are not rational.
First Steps in Politics
Culture. Learn the culture of the place; e.g.: family ties, how people dress, what they eat, how people do things.
Traditions. Learn the sacred traditions.
People’s expectations. Learn people’s expectations, but be careful how you go about fulfilling these expectations.
Rules of Politics
Nobody will tell you what the rules are.
Be active in community life.
Communicate. Most of all, LISTEN.
Be positive about the job, the school community. Do not talk negatively about anything.
Make change slowly. However, there are times when some changes need to be effected right away. Learn to know the difference.
Make friends, especially with children.
Admit your mistakes.
Act like you know, but don’t be arrogant about it.
Do good work. Show competence. Have a passion for your own excellence.
Positive relationships. Develop and maintain positive relationships with board members.
Work especially close with the chair of the board.
Provide training for board members.
Establish the roles of the board and administration.
Take leadership. The superintendent/principal takes leadership, proposes policies, develops budgets, etc.
Present alternatives. Always have alternatives to present to the board.
Do your homework and be prepared.
Never surprise the board chair. Go over the agenda with the chair. Discuss your ideas.
Stay with the agenda. To add any item on the agenda, an action must be taken by the board.
Bring only important issues to the board, but inform the board chair about trivial matters.
Be open and honest with board members. Your credibility depends on it.
Keep in close contact with the board and the higher organization of the Church.
The principal develops the procedures to implement the policies, works out the budget.
appointment (leads to greater competence and less politics).
election (leads to greater accountability to the public). School boards comprise a seven- to nine-member range, with the largest school board having 19 members. The average size is seven.