Byron's Babbles

“Answer Guru”

  As a leader it is not your job to be what John Manning (2015) calls an “answer guru” in lesson #35 of The Disciplined Leader. It is our job as leaders to build the.culture of the learning organization where we provide support, reinforce success, and embrace team members’ idea (Manning, 2015). Both education and business/industry have been run in a command and control environment for so long it is tough to switch to an environment of trust, openness, collaboration, inquiry, or dissent (learning organization) where the “leadership” provides all the answers.

Highly effective schools and organizations with highly effective teachers and team members promote environments where everyone can be “Learning Leaders.” Everyone in an organization fits into one of these three categories: Aspiring, Beginning, and Experienced Leaders. Because of this coherent and coordinated quality learning opportunities to support our leaders must be a part of career long professional learning. As a leader, we are a leader of learning. In my case, I am a leader of learning for our staff and the students we serve.  

 High performing schools and organizations have fatter decision making structures. This fatter, more effective structure comes from shared leadership. Shared leadership works through its motivational impact and the staff works to create structures for collaborative decision making. The organization or school then really becomes a place shared learning. This in turn keeps the leader from becoming the “answer guru.” And, quite frankly, the answers/solutions are much better than any one leader, at least speaking for myself, could ever come up with. 

Looking at this from a school perspective; built correctly, a shared learning school has an instructional ethos where there is an an acute awareness of the instructional actions and an acute awareness of teaching and learning in the school. Then, as a learning organization, everyone in the school become designers of worthwhile tasks for students.

Who are the “answer gurus” in your organization? 


Manning, John (2015). The disciplined leader: keeping the focus on what really matters. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.


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