Heads are in the position of being able to use their (albeit smaller) Bully Pulpit in both ways as well. The strong capable leader will use the "megaphone" of their position to push for positive change, to support new initiatives and to build momentum for innovation and school-improvement. Their weaker colleagues however, have been known to use the "power" of their position to silence opposition, marginalize potential rivals, and create an echo chamber around themselves where everyone treads softly, and takes their lead from the Head before committing themselves on an issue. The first Head welcomes debate and builds a community of purpose; while the second, stifles any voices but her or his own, and creates groups that are either "in" or "out" within the faculty and staff.
Many years ago, the then Head of a CAIS school in Montreal got into just such a power struggle with his faculty. He brooked no dissent and, when the faculty challenged him on a particularly thorny issue, within a couple of days had posted every one of their jobs in the local newspaper. His intent was to demonstrate his power and silence them. However, it didn't really turn out as he had planned. The faculty quickly unionized and took its grievances to the Board - as a result, a new job ad was put in the paper - "Head of School"!
A "bully pulpit", properly used, is a gift to the leader of an institution. You are not just a voice in the crowd, you are the Princips - first among equals - and your voice carries as much or more weight than all of the others put together. Misuse it however, and it loses its status and power. Just watch people's eyebrows when you speak, and you will know what side of the equation you are on!
Yesterday's events required a small detour from the intended focus of today's post - how to build an effective communications strategy - but how could I resist!? Back on track tomorrow...