Empowering Leaders from the “New Normal to the New Future.” – “Share a Meal.”

By Mr. Ron Krishna – President - BHTA

“Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savoring the journey.” We cannot just sit down and drooling about the effects had or having on coronavirus. There is not so easy to say or talk about normal life till we really experience it. In this article I will focus on the reality that our families and teachers face during in the era of coronavirus.

The Catholic Education Week was held in week 9 from the 15th of March to the 21st of March, 2021. The stakeholders, parents, teachers, students and friends of St. Teresa’s Catholic School in Ba had a fruitful Catholic Education Week focusing on the effects of coronavirus and doing our best to move to a normal life to the new future. The lesson, theme and activities were focused on the poor and the needy children in schools and the theme for Education Week was “Share a Meal” to address the devastation of COVID – 19 and the cyclones.

The School based planned activities for Catholic Education Week were asked to carry out different activities and to display activities in front of their classroom and teachers to inform students on the importance of Catholic Education Week and on the theme “Share a Meal”. Also the school took the initiative to identify 8 families that were really needy and shared groceries that was donated by the students towards these families. The teachers and some students paid a visit to these families on Friday (19/03) and Monday (22/03) on behalf of the school to take the donated items to these families and share with them what the school was celebrating this week and the importance of the week for the school and the archdiocese.

At the same time we encouraged these families to move ahead with life with faith. Nothing is impossible when the heart is willing.  As a leader and my teachers being the leaders as well, I mostly encourage them to focus on people, human resources, mentoring, learning and healing emotions. This Catholic Education Week encouraged us to learn to be a facilitator, never top down, conscious of leadership development; a healthy working environment, respect, exchange of ideas, a creative class; trust through sharing, teams, embracing equality, diversity, tolerance; vision, and commitment to the vision, through talent, technology, storytelling; and a dynamic interplay between all stakeholders, teachers, parents, neighbors and shareholders.

As we settle into our new normal, the question of effective leadership is once again under debate. Will leaders walking into our changed future of work require different skills than we thought they would? The answer is almost undoubtedly yes. I and my team of teachers proved it to me through “sharing a meal” with others so why can’t you try that in your schools. The process was smoother for some than others but everyone is figuring out ways to persevere and press on. Leading a team is never an easy task. When faced with uncertainty on a nearly constant basis, modern leaders are evolving to meet the needs of both remote work and their teams.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re leading a small or large team, the ability to communicate clearly and transparently even from a distance has never been more important. When going through times of change, teachers and students look to their leaders for a sense of calm in the storm. Your school team need to be able to trust they can count on t to provide information as it’s required so they can plan their lives accordingly. Given our current situation, there’s really no way to over-communicate. When it doubt, reach out to your team and have open discussions about their wins, challenges, or concerns.

Let’s face it. The ability to think creatively about problems and flex to whatever situation arises is one that’s going to be crucial moving forward as we head deeper into the unknown. Leaders need to be able to look at the big picture and figure out how to keep their teachers and students motivated. Figuring out different ways to engage teachers, parents and students  and perhaps adapt roles and responsibilities as needed can go a long way towards retaining your staff and surviving this particular patch of disruption.

We may be working through the new normal of the pandemic challenge for several years, and over those years, the new normal will morph in ways we can’t yet foresee. So let us have faith and keep moving or learn to live with it and never forget to “share a meal.”

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” —Warren Bennis