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Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Do You Lead for Yourself or Others?

Whether you lead a family, classroom, school, system, organization, community, state, or nation, you have to continually ask yourself this question, "Do I lead for self or others?" Of course the answer is both--you have to both lead for yourself and for others, and striking that right balance is good challenge every leader, great or small, faces.

If you don't lead for self, you might not have what it takes to lead for others. For example if you give too much, you won't have the time to take care of yourself and be able to give to others with good energy, creativity, and attention. On the other hand, if you let your ego take over, it's likely you'll make decisions that only support your own gain, and not the gain of others. This kind of egotistical leadership, I believe, eventually fails because you'll lose the trust and support of those you lead.

As I bring this big idea back to the classroom, what's most important is that we listen to those we lead--what do children think, want, desire? What does the leadership team of teachers, administrators, and community members deem to be most important? Further, how do other organizations affect our classroom leadership, and then how do we harmonize the needs, interests, and expectations of all of these groups to continually lead well and teach well. Teachers continually choreograph with this in mind to lead well.

Of course, good process is essential to good leadership. When we use good, inclusive process to make decisions and forward our efforts, we lead well. With this in mind, I'm thinking of the processes in place to lead our team's collective teaching/learning work, processes that include the following:
  • regular collegial meetings
  • notes and discusses led by systemwide leadership
  • student/family member meetings
  • state/union announcements, policies, and expectations
  • professional responsibilities and expectations related to teaching well
  • research, reading, professional study, and collegial efforts
And of course to lead others well, we must lead ourselves with the kind of good balance that creates good energy, demeanor, and will to do what is right and good by our students, colleagues, the community, and systemwide leadership. Onward.