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Saturday, December 05, 2015

Inspiring Leadership

I remember writing a while ago about allegiance and recognizing that I didn't ally myself with many. Yet today as I think about inspiring leadership, I find that I want to seek out those leaders who inspire my work and inform my practice. In a sense, I'm tired of always leading myself; I want to rely on a few more to challenge my path, question my ideas, and help me to find my way. If one continually leads himself/herself, the path can become too egocentric and narrow. It's best to reach out for some leadership too.

As I think about this leadership, leadership I have sought in real time and online, I think about the many who have stood tall. People like @davidculberhouse, +Shira Leibowitz  +Seth Godin   +Dan Callahan   , +Tom Whitby  +MindShift  +Greg Richardson  +Chris Lehmann  +Meenoo Rami , +SHIFTparadigm  and so many, many more. Yet my seeking has been sporadic, and rarely have I signed on to any one leader for an extended period. That's something I'm seeking.

Recently as part of the NEA/MTA Teacher Leadership Initiative, I have found leaders who rightly and deeply challenge me. The exercises I've practiced have been a terrific, growth producing challenge for me. Already I am noticing growth and better work. I like that. Similarly I have a personal coach who truly pushes me forward in ways that make a difference. Educators I work with also serve as inspiring leaders as I observe and listen to their deep and impactful coaching when they work with and for students.

We live in a world that needs inspiring leadership, and each of us profits from the inspiring leaders amongst us. What do these leaders do?
  • These leaders know us and work with whom we are today. They help us to see ourselves with clarity and grow in ways that matter to us personally and professionally.
  • These leaders are communicators. They don't stay tucked away in an office somewhere, but instead make themselves known to us. We understand their strengths, vision, mission, and depth. We know their vulnerabilities too, and we definitely understand that their belief in us is strong and their willingness to work with us undeniable.
  • These leaders take their work seriously in the broadest sense of the definition of work. They are continually growing and sharing what they know and discover as they grow. They are also willing to let us know when they've retired an old practice or thought because they've learned a better way. 
  • These leaders are the people we custom our steps and efforts from. We want to be like them because we know who and what they are matter.
None of us are superhuman. None of us will be the inspiring leader for all. None of us are without our failings, but all of us can reach out to both lead in inspiring ways, and be led by inspiring leaders.

Who are the inspiring leaders that lead you every day? What is it about their work and effort that continues to inspire and lead you forward? How do you find those leaders and what do you do to nurture those relationships? Do you inspire as you lead your students too? Is this a time when we have enough inspiring leaders or is this a time when we don't have enough? Where are they? Who are they? Why does that matter? I want to know more.