Some administrators might add to one’s list of primary tasks several secondary responsibilities. These alone could take every minute of every day to accomplish. Some will even go so far as to say that the quality of one’s program is not judged by how many all state members are in the program or the quality of one’s rating at contest or festivals. In some administrators’ opinions a program is judged successful by:
- how much paperwork is done properly and turned in on time.
- how much administrational time is taken up each week dealing with complaints, problems, etc.
- how much the program costs.
These administrators will actually reward one for spending an inordinate amount of time on non primary tasks and rebuke one for spending too much time developing a successful program. What does the director do? Ultimately he will do what the principal tells him to do or he will be looking for a new job. For the most part, our administrators want our programs to excel. They are understandably proud of these accomplished students and when their school ensembles perform well they are lauded as wonderful administrators.
By anticipating problems, many secondary tasks (such as parent–teacher conferences, long phone calls, written explanations, and the like) can be avoided or minimized. A prepared set of overall goals and priorities for the program and the individual can be very helpful in this regard. A defense for each policy, goal, and priority should also be prepared. These should be written down and then approved by the principal. By doing so the director will be better prepared to defend his decisions. It should be realized that in a highly visible position there will always be those who are dissatisfied. This is normal. Any leader is going to have those that disagree and those that dislike his policies and decisions. One who tries to please everyone all the time will never please anyone.
Strengths, weaknesses, problem areas, and the like must be identified before we begin to set goals that relate to our primary tasks. By doing so we can plan intelligently. The following might help you focus on your particular situation so that you can establish in your mind what is primary and what is secondary:
- What kind of program am I starting with?
- What do I want to accomplish for the program and for myself?
- How much of my time am I willing to sacrifice?
- What time line will I work with? (i.e. at the end of one year we will be at a given level, in two years, in three years, etc.)
- What do the administration, students, and community expect from the program?
- What is the current perception of the program?
Short term tasks and decisions become easier and more consistent when long term goals are pursued. Find out what NEEDS to be done, what you want to get done, and what you would like to get done. Make a priority list each day. Get to work on what NEEDS TO BE DONE and in the words of the drug prevention people “Just say no” to the secondary tasks that stand in your way.