Who are our leaders in education these days and how do they lead? In education that leader can be an administrator, a lead teacher, or even someone without a leadership title that you turn to for guidance. It is there, those teachers that naturally assume that role, that often make a great impact at their school.
What makes these teachers something special is how they lead. They build community, are your biggest cheerleaders, and they model great teaching. These teachers encourage the best in others and offer sound practices for success. It is here that the magic happens. It is these people who often make amazing leaders because of their unique set of skills.
The three major traits of being a leader in education today are:
Every day we come to school and have the opportunity to make connections, create opportunities, and learn from one another. By taking a step back and using your senses to hear, to see, and to feel what is happening, leaders can learn the pulse of what is happening at their school. They can watch a lesson and spot the moments that transform the learning experience, and they can create opportunities for student and staff success by just observing the behaviors of others. Observant leaders will spend time encouraging the best of what their teachers and students have to offer through positive and constructive feedback.
What does it mean to be joyful? It means finding a way to celebrate life’s moments as often as possible. It’s about celebrating the success and failures. It means smiling and laughing and finding the good in the every day, and in everyone. Being positive and happy can help create a culture where students and staff feel safe, valued, and included. Leaders who are joyful can empower others to want to do their best. It also has to do with kindness. I always tell my students to lead with kindness. It’s always possible to find something nice to say to others, to offer a kind word, or to sincerely listen to others.
It is important for leaders to have a vision of what they want their school to look and feel like. But, it is equally important to foster that vision in those around them. We live in a world where we consume so much, from technology to social media. We are constantly bombarded with images and ideas. Those who are visionary leaders know that creation is important for our learners and our educators. By sparking an idea, encouraging others in theirs, and supporting others dreams, visionary leaders can transform their schools in new and exciting ways.
Our classrooms look far different than they did when we went to school. Our teaching, training, and resources need to shift with the changes to our world. How we lead our schools still has the traditional aspects, but great leaders embrace the changes and use them to foster agency in their schools. How will I lead? I would lead by watching, offering positive feedback, and be open to innovative and creative ideas. How will you lead?
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