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Do More With Less?

“Doing more with less” seems to be the motto of this time. Administrators and managers everywhere are urging folks to pitch in more to get through these difficult times. And certainly there is wisdom in that general principle.

Wisdom is also found in realizing when a team is already working as efficiently and as hard as they can with current resources, and the administrator with this wisdom stops pushing the team (while still encouraging them!) and uses that energy to creatively look for more resources.

This person recognizes that when you’ve done more with less all you can, it is time to start doing more with more, and sets about looking for that more. This ability is what distinguishes a leader from a bureaucrat and a mere manager.

It also helps the team find those extra reserves when they perceive the pressure is refocused from them towards finding real relief, it engenders hope, raises morale, and inspires more creative solutions, because they see that the boss is trying to solve issues rather than muddling through them.

King Saul was an anti-example of this leadership. In I Samuel 14:20-46, it tells of Israel fighting against and routing the Philistines. In his eagerness to finish the job, Saul orders that no one in his army touch any food until the battle was over, on pain of death. He failed to see how this weakened the troops so that they were less effective. His son, Jonathan had not heard the command and took a taste of honey that he passed in the woods, which got him into all sorts of trouble and nearly cost him his life at the hands of his father. Jonathan saw that the army would have been more effective with food, but his father took away the food and demanded more from the troops. In the end, Jonathan was saved by the army who defended him against his father, an act of insurrection and treason, but also one that was right and just.

I am grateful that our department chair is more like Jonathan than Saul, and is trying to solve problems and find resources to support our work of teaching an increasing enrollment. He demands more from us, challenging our old ways of doing things, but is simultaneously looking for the resources to aid in making the transformation occur. Thank you!


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