I received a message one morning this week with the following statement:
“…just wanted to let you know that I appreciate how efficient and focused your meetings are – thank you!”
More than anything, this message made my day. You can never underestimate the power a few positive words have on a person. However, this message also made me reflect. I started asking myself, “Am I that efficient and focused? Why do I do that? What makes me work that way?” Then it hit me. It’s pretty simple why I work the way I do…
I lead the way I want to be led.
I have been fortunate to grow up with two exceptional role models as educators and leaders. With a father as a coach and a mother as a teacher for most of my childhood, I spent much of my time watching how they conduct themselves in their respective settings. My mother taught Language Arts the way she wanted to be taught—her classroom was fun, creative, engaging, and relevant. When she became an Assistant Principal my senior year of high school, I watched her conduct herself as a leader the way she expected others to lead her. My father was a masterful classroom teacher who hooked kids into math and running like no other. Think about that combination—there are very few people with the skill to reach students and get them to love mathematics and running. Yet he did it on a daily basis.
I guess it became a no-brainer when I taught, coached, and now as I lead that I work to embody much of the same characteristics of my parents. It has become second nature to me to conduct myself as the leader I want to follow.
I think leadership cannot occur without constant reflection and feedback from those with whom you work. I don’t think I’ve done a good enough job this year of asking those with which I work for feedback on my leadership. I cannot get better unless I ask the questions—it’s time for me to step up.
This is the time of year when folks start looking for opportunities to step up and lead. Whether this leadership role is a department chair, cadre leader, principal, supervisor, director, or superintendent, I would challenge these folks to examine their own leadership style prior to seeking these opportunities. How will you lead?
…and more importantly, will you be the leader you want to follow?
Images: Leadership by pedrosimoes7 on Flickr Leadership by DavidR_ on Flickr