Sunday, 18 May 2014

Layers of Leadership

My leadership journey has been like the layers of an onion. There was an essence of leadership potential on the outside layer of who I was when I started teaching; yet, as I have waded through two decades of teaching, the layers have been peeled back to reveal more skills than I knew I had to begin with. Some of my leadership skills have been exposed through experience and problem solving along the way, while other skills were always just below the surface. In some cases, it was the process of being challenged that made me dig down to find what was always there from the beginning. Overall, it has been a transformational experience of continuous life-long learning, mentoring from leaders in my midst, and reflection on how my actions impact the adults and children I encounter. The possibilities of what we can accomplish in our classrooms, schools, and lives are supported through continual collaboration and conversation. As Heifetz & Linsky (2002) explain,
"To lead is to live dangerously because when leadership counts, when you lead people through difficult change, you challenge what people hold dear - their daily habits, tools, loyalties, and ways of thinking - with nothing more to offer than perhaps a possibility," (as cited in Townsend & Adams, 2009, p. 61).

We are creatures of habit. Change is scary and risky. A bold and caring leader continues to foster positive relationships, protecting the work-life balance of those around him or her, while gently or not so gently nudging the clutch forward to embrace new ideas, refine old ones, and build a joint vision. A trusting relationship at the core is essential to successfully scaffold new ideas and initiatives through shared decision making and reciprocal support every day.

Townsend, D., & Adams, P. (2009). The Essential Equation: A Handbook for School Improvement. Calgary, AB: Detselig Enterprises Ltd.