Becoming a Leader; Ideas?

I am by no means a seasoned teacher. I mean lets be real, I have only been in the profession for eleven years. However, in those eleven years I came to the realization and decision that I would like to further my career in education and eventually move into Administration.

Initially, this was only a decision that I made and refrained from sharing with those in positions of responsibility. However, since my expression of interest, I have been given a considerable amount of suggestions as to readings, doctrine and ideas. None of the information I have been given is incorrect, inappropriate or in my own words “out in left field”, but I am concerned as to why so many people are trying to follow a direction or idea rather than doing what as 21st Century teachers we expect our students to do. We strive to create students that are independent thinkers, that will take the information that they are given, add their background information and experience and then provide a solution, answer or reflection that represents them.

This being stated, understood and possibly agreed upon I ask this pair of questions. What are the traits of a great leader and secondly, why should we expect to find all of these traits in one individual when we know that most leadership in education and businesses are team based?

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11 thoughts on “Becoming a Leader; Ideas?

  1. I strongly recommend you read Primal Leadership. I was where you were. I am now studying for a CAGS in Ed Leadership and K-12 Principal certification. I just finished Collaborative Leadership course. I read this book, and it has provided a strong foundation of my philosophy and understanding of what a leader is and does to lead others into the collaboration you speak of.
    To this end, I also recommend reading Margaret Wheatley for a great perspective on systems thinking/theory.
    I will try to answer your question from my view later, but must get to sleep now.

    • Thank you for the reply and the information. Yours, and many of the other responese that I have recieved will make for an excellent summer reading list. I appreciate all the assistance provided by individuals like yourself that are in the leadership role or who are currently working through leadership courses. I don’t know if you may have read the book, but might I suggest “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by P. Lencioni.

  2. I think your principal is a great leader to have as a mentor! Being aware of what your teachers are struggling with and being willing to help them is very important! Just because you become the leader of a building does not mean you are no longer a teacher…

    • Kelaford – I would have to agree that my administrator is a great leader to have as a mentor. He not only is exteremly willing to assist with with areas that you are struggling but recognizes where you are a leader and will encourage you to assist others. The greatest element of my current administrator is that he recognizes his own struggles, has no issues expressing them and will refer you someone who can answer you questions or struggles. In relation to your final comment I fully agree, once an administrator moves away from being an educator they can lose sight and touch of the importance within the classroom.

  3. Very true. As is the case with my administrator, he understands and believes that all individuals are capable of leading. This combined with his vision/philosophy has greatly improved the the collaboration and efficacy of the teachers and the professional development in our school.

  4. I am seriously blushing Shawn! My job, is to give you tools to shine through your strengths. All people should have the chance to lead and I am glad that you are out in the forefront. It is great to see that you are having the chance to connect with so many who know so much in the area of leadership and empowerment. Now I will get out of your way 🙂

    • Thanks again George, if you hadn’t shown me the applications and importance in relation to networking and other technological innovations, I may still be only a facebook user. In regards to your allowing people to lead, I recall the first conversations we had at the beginning of the year. You had stated your ideals and beliefs about leadership, but we hear this from everyone. It was more refreshing to see that you believed in what you were saying and have consistently applied it where possible. In respect to getting out of the way, I know that you will now let me grow, but I also know that like any influential leader you will also be there beside me and behind me when I need. Thanks George, I look forward to many conversations and you can look forward to manyu questions.

  5. A must read in my opinion is The Secret by Ken Blanchard. I will tell you the job is tough, emotionally draining, but rewarding. You are either in the penthouse or the outhouse on a daily basis. There is little in between.

    • Mike – Thank you very much to the suggestion, I will have to add it to my summer reading list. There have been some other great ones that I have read and would suggest. Are you familiar with “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and “The Leader in Me”. Although the later is about encouraging leadership in children I strongly believe that it has applications across the board. The first is more a relfection with descriptors about looking at the team you are in or attempting to put together and the components that are needed for an effective and progressive team.
      Thanks again for the suggestion, I will definately take a look at it and send you my thoughts.

  6. I recently read a post that simplified, for me what some of the barriers that exist and prevent individuals from becoming leaders or from reaching their full potential are. Thoughts and Ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    The post stated that there are four specific preventers of success:
    1. Fear of failure.
    2. Fear of success.
    3. Lack of education, understanding or training.
    4. Lack of access to education, understanding or training.

    I would actually have to say that it is not simply one of the descriptors that prevents an individual from being successful, but that it is more of a combination of, possibly all four. The other key element is what are we or others are using to measure success.

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