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Leading Through Influence

Pearls of Wisdom
By Robert Holmyard
Leading Through Influence

For over 30 years international school leaders, teachers, and counselors have come together for PTC professional learning experiences. Each day of every program begins with a 'pearl of wisdom,' a 'nugget of knowledge,' or a 'gem of inspiration' from one of the participants. We are delighted to offer our readers around the world these powerful stories, insights, and strategies, all dedicated to our shared mission of ever more and better learning for our children.  

In this Pearl, Robert addresses that it can be challenging to have a leadership role that does not come with direct authority. When he first stepped into his role, he noticed a lot of head nodding and not a lot of doing. From feedback, he realized the general thought was this hasn’t come from authority, so we don’t have to do it. After much research, he implemented the RACI management tool to help build relationships and provide a clear choice in how much involvement each person wanted in the decisions and policies that would affect their work. This dynamic shifted the leadership from authority to influence. Everyone felt like a part of the process. Those who wanted to lead could do that and others were helped to find their voice by promoting their strengths. It made managing change in the department more effective as the process was more open and the members of the team had a shared sense of responsibility and ownership over decisions. The lasting changes made in the school came from the power of influence, and not from authority.

Robert Holmyard is a head of department at the Frankfurt International School.

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