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ERIC Number: EJ788027
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1529-8957
Get the Monkey off Your Back
Ciabattini, David; Custer, Timothy J.
Principal Leadership, v8 n7 p32-35 Mar 2008
Monkeys are the problems that need solutions, the tasks that need to be accomplished, the decisions that need to be made, and the actions that need to be taken. According to a theory, people carry monkeys around on their backs until they can successfully shift their burden to someone else and the monkey leaps from one back to the next. Managers all too often become so trapped in an endless cycle of dealing with other people's monkeys that they spend half or more of their time dealing with monkeys that are urgent but not important. This article discusses how principals can break this cycle by dedicating a portion of their time to a new task: developing their staff members' desire and ability to solve their own problems and make their own decisions. Learning to shift a monkey back to its proper owner takes time. The key is to empower others to make decisions for themselves. One of the components of empowerment is to demonstrate trust. This empowerment or trust is how principals got to where they are. Superintendents entrusted them with a school community that is composed of students, staff members, parents, and community members. Principals are empowered to make decisions to improve student learning and classroom instruction. By trusting their employees, principals build their employees' confidence and improve their self worth. By showing others that they are needed, principals feed others' need to be needed instead of their monkeys. (Contains 1 figure.)
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A