The sphere of education is often perceived as a branch of business which requires from a manager more knowledge of teaching methodology, than managerial or leadership skills. In reality, it is definitely not true, but many educational projects suffer a lot from this idea. My first experience was, however, exceptionally fortunate, as my first big project aimed at HR reorganization of two affiliate schools of the International House was supervised by Rob Dean. As my project manager, he demonstrated superb leadership, managerial and communication skills, which resulted in smooth and effective realization of the project and later contributed to my determination to acquire similar professional skills.
First, the core of Rob’s leadership skills is courage, dedication and ability to persuade. These features shape his unique ability to persuade people and reduce the level of anxiety, which is of utmost importance, as HR projects are often not accepted by the staff members, who are afraid that any reorganization can make them redundant. However, even working with such groups, Rob manages to communicate his ideas clearly and reach a consensus as well as create a shared vision which unites the team members.
Second, Rob possesses a valuable ability to set clear goals and delegate effectively. It definitely helps his coworkers to perceive their own value as a part of the project and to see the actions which they must perform. The way he defines the task makes it both challenging and creative, so the employees feel both interested and rewarded, trying to achieve the needed result. In addition, he supervises the projects properly, without putting his team members under stress of too much influence, but never leaving the project unattended and having no superior to address and ask for clarification.
Finally, Rob has a unique talent of an efficient communicator, who is able to give the necessary feedback without making the negative comments sound reproachful, but merely as constructive criticism. This valuable feature is essential for the ability to provide a clear objective and build up the feeling of self-respect and trust in other team members.
My experience of working with Rob was a unique opportunity and learning experience, which taught me important lesson and provided me with valuable tools for HR managerial activities. This experience I further managed to implement in a number of educational projects aimed at restructuring of different departments. I learned that communication, trust and proper level of supervision are essential to set the goals, work out an action plan of how to reach them step-by-step, inspire your team members with your plan and make them go together with you towards the same aim, controlling when necessary, but mostly evoking enthusiasm and creativity.