The Power of Leadership…

Molly McGee-Hewitt, PhD, CAE, NAPT
NAPT Executive Director and CEO

In the realm of education, like the corporate sector, a leadership and authority hierarchy exist. The higher you are on the chain of command or organizational chart, the more decision-making authority you possess. These decisions are frequently taken with or without input from the affected parties. Oftentimes, those impacted by the decisions feel overlooked or caught off guard by the outcomes.

As leaders in the pupil transportation industry, NAPT members have specific responsibilities and authority that mainly focus on the daily operations of the department. However, decisions with longer-term implications are typically made by higher-ranking officials. This concept is like the military phrase, “above my pay grade,” indicating that major decisions are reserved for those in higher positions of authority.

The frustration of this is that often professionals feel powerless and frustrated by their inability to influence key decisions. Despite their education, training, knowledge base, or desire they are excluded from the meetings or discussions where strategic decisions are made. Rather than playing a proactive professional role, they remain in a reactive role.

If you have ever felt this way, you are not alone. Often, despite your ability to do excellent work, you are limited in your access to decision makers. There are many reasons for this, some are out of our control, but others are in our control.

What can you do? An introspective mindset can be helpful, start by asking yourself some questions:

• Is there a history, created by your predecessor, with your administration that has been problematic?

• Are you viewed as a leader or a middle manager?

• Do you bring valid contributions and solutions to issues?

• Are you viewed as a district asset and a significant leader?

• Are you a positive supporter or a chronic complainer?

• Do you see yourself and your department as team players or are you siloed?

When asking yourself these questions, remember that it all comes down to leadership. Leadership is not a title, a position, a salary – it is a daily behavior. It boils down to being an exceptional professional who builds collaborative relationships, is committed to finding the best solutions to problems, and who is ethical, communicates effectively, and is committed to the district.

As you understand and exercise your leadership, your authority and responsibilities will typically increase. With this, embrace demonstrating excellence and walking in your truth. Your value will grow based on who you are, what you do, and how well you apply your knowledge to the operation; your value will go beyond a job title.

NAPT and the NAPT Foundation prioritize professional development and certification to enhance technical skills. In addition to this, we emphasize leadership training to empower our members to take on key leadership positions. It’s crucial to remember that our approach to conducting business is just as vital as the business itself. As an association of skilled leaders, let’s embrace the influence of our leadership capabilities.

I invite you to join me this October 4 – 8 in Oklahoma City, OK for NAPT ACTS where we will provide you with valuable insights, knowledge, and skills that can help you advance your career and improve your performance.

With love, respect, and a knowing nod,


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