By Victor Ochieng’
Those who have worked and walked with Mrs Juliana Kirui, the former Chief Principal of Kipsigis Girls, like Son of the Lake, know that this winsome woman is wonderful and wise. She is nice like rice. Great of all, this Chief Principal is a legendary leader who understands that piety, empathy and charisma; are some of the colourful qualities that decorate the head and heart of a great principal. That explains why she met warm reception in her new station – Moi Girls-Eldoret – the fountain of aperitif of knowledge every gutsy girl wishes to join. Her Triumphal Entry into this Ivy League School was precipitated with pomp, colour, glamour and glory. When she landed, both students and staff danced and rejoiced because their morale and motivation was in cloud nine.
Working with Mrs Kirui
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Passionate penman worked with Mrs Kirui in her former station, Kipsigis Girls, which produced one of the best students in KCSE 2021. I can say, she is a very pious principal who strives to put God first in everything she does. She prioritises piety and hardly fails to attend the school Sunday services. She promotes pious programmes in the school. In some instances, she also teaches and preaches. I remember one Sunday I attended their service, I heard her reciting the whole chapter of Psalms 91. I was amazed and amused by her massive banks of memory and the thorough grasp of the sacred scriptures.
Fear of God
She is a principal who depicts to students that wisdom is not just the application of knowledge. Or the accumulation of common sense. But also, wisdom comes with the fear of God. The bright-eyed insight is this: Students who revere God, have their conscience clear like crystal. They hardly go on strike or fan ferocious flames of fire.
Again, on the same ambit of piety, Mrs Kirui strives to weld together her staff through frequent fellowships. She understands; for the dream to work, there must be teamwork. TEAM is Together Each Achieves More or Miracles. She obeys the Gestalt Theory, which postulates that the whole of anything is greater than its parts. Through the Christian convocations, teammates practise mastermind alliance. The leader fosters teamwork as teammates demonstrate it. The staff fellowships that Mrs Kirui champions for, promotes; collaboration, cooperation and unity of purpose. Through it all, the organisation wins wars. For the sage said: United we stand, but divided we fall. The Psalmist puts it aptly: It is pleasant and sweet for brethren to dwell in unity. Where there is unity, the God of grace commands a blessing.
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Moreover, Mrs Kirui remains a great Principal because she is a leader who practises empathy: the ability to fit in someone’s shoe. Great Principals like Mrs Kirui put puissance on the heart first. They conceptualise the wise words of Dr. John C. Maxwell, “To lead yourself, use your head; to lead others, use your heart. Always touch a person’s heart before you ask him for a hand.” Great Principals become empathetic when they mind the welfare of students and staff. For in every community, there are situations that call for empathy, like: Death, disability, divorce, accident, job loss, sickness, loss of a parent, et cetera.
Great principals are leaders who are HUMAN as carefully-crafted in the Leader Who Had Not Title by Robin Sharma. HUMAN means, they Help, Understand, Mingle, Amuse and Nurture people. Great principals encourage teachers to grow and glow in their career paths and progression. Great Principals like Mrs Kirui create open door policies; where students feel free to express their grievances in school barazas, class assemblies, and suggestion boxes without fear of victimisation. Such Principals treat school stakeholders with a sense of dignity and decorum. They love and cherish fair play. They hardly breach contracts. They walk the talk. They remain sensitive to the needs of customers, pick calls of clients, and respond to suppliers on time.
Empathy is what makes great principals to conceptualise what Simon Sinek talks about in Leaders Eat Last. Every employee in an organisation, is someone’s son or daughter. It behooves the leader to play the patronage, parentage and tutelage role. Letting someone into an organisation, is like adopting a child. When people grapple to find happiness at the work place, they transfer that struggle to their homes. Meanwhile, those who work in organisations that treat them like human beings wend home with a sure sense of fulfilment and contentment.
Character and charisma
In conclusion, Mrs Kirui is a perfect epitome of a great principal because she blends character with charisma. Charismatic approach to leadership is not all about being talkative per se. But it’s the quality which causes leaders to attract people like a magnet. Charisma makes the difference between personality and personality plus. In Be a People Person, Dr. John C. Maxwell, the proponent of prominent leadership ideas posits that leaders who are replete with CHARISMA focus on concern, help, action, results, influence, sensitivity, motivation and affirmations. Concern is the ability to show that the leader cares. As Theodore Roosevelt sagely said, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Help is the ability to reach out. It is a good gift. In fact, the Greek word of the word ‘gift’ is ‘charisma’ – meaning the gift of grace. Action is the ability to make things happen. Results is the ability to produce. Influence is the ability to lead. Leadership is about influence; nothing more, nothing less. Sensitivity is the ability to respond. Motivation is the ability to give hope and help. Affirmation is the ability to build up people’s self-esteem through wise use of words.
The writer rolls out talks and training services in schools. [email protected]. 0704420232.