Many have leadership titles, but our true leaders exhibit leadership behaviors. Some are listed here. Certainly not an exhaustive list, nor set in stone; but led to some great candid discussion and sharing–which is what learning and education should be all about! I’m not sure if this is an addition to the list, or a subset of empowerment, but leaders should strive to be the weak link. Leaders need to take pride in the hiring process and teaching, coaching, supporting, and learning from the staffs we lead.
Some leaders delegate critical aspects of the future of the school community such as initial screening of applicants, filtering of candidates, or evaluations of current staff. I understand the demands on everyone’s time, especially leaders; however, I urge us, as leaders, to be active participants in these critical endeavors. I believe there are 2 mindsets when it comes to hiring and evaluating, which differentiate those with leadership titles from those with leadership behaviors.
I believe the mindset of those with leadership titles is to take anybody and affix an “If you’re lucky, one day you’ll be able to know what I know, achieve what I’ve achieved, and get to where I am” mentality. The hinderance of this logic is that someone with a leadership title and 44 years of experience in 2014 sets a vision for an educator with 11 years experience that 33 years from now, in the year 2047, if lucky enough, the younger educator will have finally “made it” to where the elder educator was 33 years ago in 2014. Yuck.
The mindset of those with leadership behaviors is to actively seek out specific individuals and commit to a “With proper support, collaboration, and partnership, where you are 8-12 years from now will be further than I will ever be at any time in my career” mentality. The benefit of this logic is that, applied to everyone in the organization, the current leader becomes the “weak link”. This is when an organization or school community becomes “progressive”. Define it as you may, but I’m coming to learn “progressive” means when educators remove ego, explore, and push beyond boundaries–or better yet, push as if there are no boundaries–to achieve successes with and for kids never before achieved. This constantly redefines the foundation upon which new explorations occur, effectively creating a culture of continued progress, or progressive achievements and successes.
Our kids, staffs, parents, and communities deserve educators who exhibit leadership behaviors, and strive to be the weak link.