I should first declare allegiance to the stance of Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard that delegation allows the leaders to lower both their directive and supportive behaviour. The delegated is not kept under strict surveillance. Directions are not provided through to the end of it all. Yes, it is because the senior trusts the maturity level of the junior in relation to the task at hand. The senior is beyond doubt sure and confident that the junior has the skills commensurate to the task at hand. In fact, it is the trust the manager has in the skills of the junior in relation to the task at hand that he or she bravely surrenders duty and responsibility to the ‘subordinate’.
However, I am confident that all those who trade their skills and expertise under the charge of supervisors would undoubtedly question the competency of such ‘bosses’ if they delegate all of their duties and responsibilities on almost every working day. The situation gets even more startling if such leaders begin to delegate right on the day they arrive in a managerial position. It is delegation right from the onset. All of a sudden juniors are forced to abandon their work and their work pattern. They begin to engage the responsibilities generic to those of their new boss.
I can declare that such a leader creates a lot of doubting ‘Thomases’ among the subordinates. They begin to say one to another, “I should first see him do it to be convinced his delegation is not a consequence of utter ignorance.” Yes, the boss has failed to demonstrate that he has the ‘know-how’ to take care of whatever is required of him in the new position. This is important for it would win him respect from the juniors. They will have confidence in the new boss who has enough knowledge and experience to provide guidance whenever they need it.
The boss goes on to enslave the juniors by exaggerating the power that goes with the authority of the position he occupies. He creates a perception that he has the power to fire and hire employees at will. The juniors begin to tremble and even cower for cover when he reprimands one of them for being lackadaisical. They suffer hysterically under the spell of the great power the boss has managed to implant in their blood and psychology. They abandon their responsibilities and begin to compete for those of their boss as if he has ceased to exist.
This is the leadership conduct that sees teachers abandon teaching and learning and engage in administrative activities that define the professional responsibilities of managers. Many principals have very little to do at schools. They do not engage in teaching activities and advance ‘administrative work’ as a hindrance to classroom teaching.
However, teachers cannot pay rapt attention to classroom activities as many head teachers delegate all of their responsibilities. Yes, they delegate even those core responsibilities that define their purpose into principal positions. The drawing up of all the administrative niceties is loaded on teachers whose teaching lags behind as a result. I am talking about those duties and responsibilities that are integral to the activities of school principals.
It is crucial to observe here that certain activities have slowed down in schools as those are never easy to usher away to teachers. Principals are supposed to verify whether or not the curriculum is being correctly implemented. They need to do regular class visits to evaluate the processes of teaching and learning. They should ascertain whether or not teachers prepare for their lessons regularly. They should monitor the progress of learners by perusing their books. It is their duty to verify whether or not all teachers are able to manage their classes. Yes, they are supposed to do all these without fail. It is not for fun that many scholars in Effective School Leadership Theories call them Masters of Pedagogy.
School managers should fully participate in teaching and learning. Yes, they should teach to have the test of it all and remain relevant to the activities of a school. But alas! These colleagues are not involved with teaching and learning. One wonders then how they can create an environment conducive for learning and teaching if they have very little to do with it all. Teachers need to be relieved from administrative work. Yes, they need to face the challenges of teaching and learning with greater zeal.
It is worrying that the delegation endeavours intensify on Fridays and coincide with principal gatherings arranged by regional offices across the country. I do not hesitate in stating that the absence or presence of principals at schools is attributed to how much of their responsibilities are delegated. Surely, they can afford to stay away as nothing holds them back at schools. Teachers are forced to abandon their classes and clear the stoops infested by less cultured learners who refuse to let the dust settle. Schools descend into chaos every time managers vacate schools under the guise of addressing other national issues for the Namibian child. This scenario could be dealing a heavy blow on those brilliant initiatives meant to bolster learner performance in schools.
I know that delegation is a style proponents of situational leadership employ as they try to adapt their leadership to the maturity levels of the individual or group they are attempting to influence. However, school managers have turned it into a ‘robe’ to shelter their incompetency.
• Silume Simataa is a high school teacher. He is a holder of a Master’s of Leadership and Change Management, English Honours (Polytechnic of Namibia), BED, BETD (Unam).