I am rarely stumped when it comes to writing, but this post is a tough one for me, and it is difficult to articulate why. I have been asked to describe my leadership style, and I'm not sure where to begin. Of the four initial types offered, I am definitely Democratic, and occasionally Maternalistic (what can I say? I'm a Mom!). On the next level I can definitely identify myself as a servant leader. As I sat here staring at my blank page for a rather long time, I started thinking of how I came to have the type of leadership style that I have. Was it as a child, trying to find my place within my family structure? Was it on the playground? Was it in my AP classes in high school? Was it when I became a teacher? Was it upon becoming a mother and establishing my own family environment? The answer is... YES... to all of these scenarios. My life experiences thus far- all of them- have led me to be who I am as a leader.
So if I don't overthink it too much, my leadership style looks something like this: The bottom line is that everything I believe about students (as a teacher) is everything I believe about teachers (as an educational leader). I believe every individual brings something to the table. The important thing is to find out where every person's strengths lie, and play to each person's strengths Meet them where they are. It is rare to find someone who is good at EVERYTHING- so I want to celebrate every good thing evident within the people in my sphere. I am empathetic and feel that everyone deserves and needs to feel heard. I might not be able to make everyone completely happy or attend to all of their wishes, but they deserve to be able to speak what is important to them, and know that I hear and value them and their opinion. I feel that it is important to see people as whole people- not as "someone who can do this service for me" or "someone who can make this connection for me." Remaining genuinely curious about the lives of people within my sphere is important to me. I want a sense of family in any organization that I lead. I believe it is also important to place value on the whole humanness of a person. Teachers are not just teachers- but are also sons, daughters, parents, friends, spouses, lovers, poets, musicians, athletes, knitters, gamers, gardeners... my point is that it is the whole person who engages with students in the classroom everyday, and we never know which aspect of a teacher (person) a student is going to connect with and relate to. Those connections between teacher and student are important, as that is what allows learning in. The more I know about my teachers, the more my life is going to be enriched, and the more our school will be enriched. Although I most value the present moment, I believe it is important to understand where we have come from, where we are now, and where we are going as an organization. As a person, I am always interested in pursuing personal growth, and I would expect nothing less from our organization. As a leader I always want to see what we can grow in, what we can do better, how we can modernize. After all, our "customers" (students) will always be changing and adapting to our ever-changing world, so to remain relevant, we must also adapt, change, and grow.
This has been a tough assignment- to examine myself as a potential leader- but my principal, Erin English, shared something with me today that helped me, and I think is important. She basically said that as tough as it is to examine ourselves and identify those things, it is important so that we know ourselves, and we can know ourselves well enough to trust ourselves when we have to make tough decisions as leaders. That feels like wisdom to me - authentic wisdom. Thanks Dr. English.