Chain of Command

I’m writing this to all of you as a sort of reflection on a challenge and solution I’ve recently been reminded to use.

As you may know, I lead an organization that delivers professional development.   Teachers and administrators  gather to share and learn all sorts of things from classroom management ideas to the latest and greatest technology ideas.

Growing a  leadership group brings all sorts of personal challenges and successes; generally the successes come after  I’ve figured out how to overcome my challenges.    

And, as we know, leadership is all about sticky situations.  If you are reading this, whether you’re a parent, teacher leader, administrator or other… you are fully aware that there are several paths to take at any juncture but which ever path a leader chooses is filled with intended and unintended consequences. And…these growing pains always seem easier from the outside looking in than when it’s your own shoes you’re standing in.

Recently, someone asked my why I’d taken on this particular leadership role. What had I planned to get out of it?

I don’t think I planned on being a great leader… just leading great organization.

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I confess I’d never had anyone actually ask  me that before.  I explained that I felt I was filling a need in my educational community and that being a leader of it was simply a way of starting to fill that gap.

Recently, I came across a leadership challenge that I confess I really wasn’t ready for.

Your employees [team members] should not have the ability to freely report their issues to whomever they feel whenever they choose. This obstructs smooth operations, undermines authority, and results in chaos.(1)

I expected that any issues that would come up would be brought to me freely.  But I wasn’t expecting the challenges to be made on an open group chat.  I always responded to the issue privately but still wonder how the rest of the group felt about the confrontation taking place during/in an open forum.  (I plan to ask this at our next gathering, but it caught me off guard at the time. I guess it was naive of me to think that everyone shared the same protocol for dissent.

I’ve taken a valuable lesson from this:  As the title of the article says below, (and even when your group isn’t your ’employees’) establishing the norms for communication are an essential part of the group’s functioning and not something that should be overlooked.


(1) Todrin, D. (n.d.). Teach Your Employees To Respect The Chain Of Command. Proper Communication In A Business. Retrieved March 19, 2017, from

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