Use of Smart Power in Effective School Management

21st century leader is leading VUCA world. Leaders have to manage skilled, non-skilled, efficient and less-efficient followers. School leader faces very complex and difficult challenges since we are handling human resources. School leaders are handling most vulnerable, rigid, adamant, educated, cooperative, listeners stakeholders like students, teachers, parents, vendors and trustee or officials from school managing committee.


Leader task is to help, to guide and to monitor for drawing maximum output. Leader is a symbol of power, authority and accountability. Basically a school leader exercises his/her power to ensure proper functioning of the system. S/he uses ‘power’, especially ‘soft power’ and ‘hard power’ in reference to different context. Leader’s powers consist of his/her role and responsibilities defined and destined by the system in another words “institutional laws”. Since we handle human being, power should be used wisely and judiciously.  “Leaders have to make crucial choices about the types of power that they use,” says Joseph S. Nye Jr.

Smart Power

Joseph S. Nye Jr. coined a new term “Smart power” which is prevailing in USA and USA exercises the “smart power” to deal difficult terrain’s challenges smartly. Smart power is used by the great leader contextually and judiciously in different occasion at different level with different intensity.  “Smart power” is a clever combination of “soft” and “hard” powers for achieving certain aims. In another words ‘Smart power’ is an amalgamation of power to convince and power to attract.

How do I protect institution interests?

When a leader looks forward to get the desired result, s/he usually needs to ask these two questions. How do I protect institution interests? What are the instruments I can use? A great leader always reinforce institution laws and reiterate interest of institution 1st and other stakeholder on 2nd.  A great leader must be able to combine hard power, characterized by coercion, and what Nye calls “soft” power, which relies instead on attraction. The outcome is smart power. Smart power is a great tool to mobilize people around goal or main concern. It is observed that individual uses his/her personality, vision, and power of communication to get desired outcomes.

What type of power should a school leader use in this case?

What type of power should a school leader use in this case? Heavy rain started at 6.00 am in the morning. School is organizing CBSE exam as per as national level schedule. Most of the teachers were ready to come to school without any excuse. A few teachers started sending message in the school WhatSapp group for not joining school i.e. conducting online classes from home. What type of power should be exercised by the school principal? Since, it is normal working day and school leader could not stop CBSE Compartment examination and could not stop teaching learning process too because s/he has to give answer to 1000 of parents.. School leader faces several paradoxical situations in school operation. Joseph S. Nye Jr. former Dean of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government proposed three ways to affect the behavior of others. These are followings:-

  1. You can coerce them with threats.
  2. You can induce them with payments.
  3. Or you can attract or co-opt them.

Philosophy of Joseph S. Nye Jr.

We will consider the proposed philosophy of Joseph S. Nye Jr. a former U.S. government official and a former dean at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government before taking any decision.

  1. Hard power enables countries to wield carrots and sticks to get what they want.
  2. Soft power is the ability to attract people to our side without coercion. Legitimacy is central to soft power.
  3. The effectiveness of any power resource depends first on context. Sources of strength change over time. Machiavelli said it was safer to be feared than to be loved. Today, in the global information age, it is better to be both.

Soft Power-Hard Power -Smart Power

What types of power should be appropriate to see win –win situation. ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Changes of technologies and availability of wide range of information on diverse fields (authentic/unknown/fake resources) on World Wide Web poses great challenges for leaders because different stakeholders sometimes discuss or most of the time argue on the issue that may/may not exists.  Great leader uses “Smart power” for achieving certain aims.

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