Browsing Indiana State University Electronic Theses and Dissertations by Author "Raisor, Michael Louis"
What Highly Effective Leaders Do During Difficult TimesRaisor, Michael LouisThe purpose of this study was to determine what the most highly effective leaders do during difficult times to be successful. The backdrop of the study was the 2009 $300 million cuts to the Indiana K-12 education budget, a uniform crisis that affected all 293 public school districts at the same time. The subjects in this study were those identified as the most highly effective public school superintendents in the state of Indiana. Education authorities across the state were polled and provided recommendations. The results were tabulated and five superintendents distinguished themselves as outliers among their peers. On-site structured interviews were conducted with each of the superintendents. The initial generalized summary findings were then given back to the superintendents for their review and member data checking. The superintendents confirmed the summary findings as accurate representations of their individual philosophy and behaviors. The five outlier superintendents all shared the same basic philosophies and behaviors in relation to leadership during difficult times. The first most telling finding was in regards to crisis leadership. The research found that highly effective leaders do not have a different style of leadership during difficult times. Highly effective leadership behaviors and actions are universal regardless of the circumstance. Highly effective leaders share core philosophies when faced with a difficult time, however once again, these are their philosophies at all times. They believe that within any crisis lies opportunity. They believe that difficult times define leaders and their organization. They believe in finding the best people for the job, communicating their vision, giving autonomy, and then getting out of the way. They believe in the value of networking, collaborating, and the input of their community, including criticism. They believe in leading by example and from the front. They realize that people are looking to them for guidance, leadership, and direction. Highly effective leaders also share universal leadership behaviors. They are constantly planning and preparing for the future. They have a defined process of how they lead and do business and they do not deviate from it. They have a laser-like focus on their organization‟s core business and do not deviate from it. They build trusting relationships with their staff and community. They get out in front of situations by being highly visible and communicating clearly. They are positive and poised. They share accolades and own mistakes. They do not attack problems as a whole, but instead break them down into smaller manageable pieces. They ask a lot of questions and take the time necessary to make a good decision, and then take decisive action.