A good leader? A thought leader?

Even though developing my leadership philosophy made it to the goal list this year, I didn’t envisage myself reflecting on aspects of it so soon. Leadership is simple but also complex. At this stage I’m still throwing around ideas for the foundations of my leadership philosophy but I hope this post will help me to clarify a few things in my head  and make a start sooner rather than later.

Leadership for me is about doing. It is an action. It is about people and ideas. It can also be amazing but also tough. A friend of mine said something that made a lot of sense- it is about developing the skills in people so that they no longer need you.

The people in my life who I think of as leaders seem to share similar qualities. They are often:

  • reflective
  • adaptable
  • innovative
  • curious
  • effective communicators
  • collaborative
  • critical thinkers and problem solvers
  • supportive and encouraging
  • caring and protective
  • brave and courageous
  • open to change
  • true to their beliefs, values and morals
  • getting stuck in to a task themselves
  • able to ask for help/assistance

My word this year is courage and so I thought that being brave deserves a special mention. I think this is huge! A leader is someone who is not afraid to fail; Fail fast and you learn faster. Doing things that scare you is a good chunk of what leadership is all about. This can empower people to become followers as they feel more confident in their abilities after seeing someone else lead the way. And as I learnt the other night, it takes guts to be that first follower- being a first follower is an underappreciated form of leadership in itself.

A thought leader, the go to person in their field of expertise, is often a trusted source of innovative and someone who can put ideas into reality. I was asked firstly if I thought I was a thought leader and secondly would I want to be one. So, am I a thought leader…not yet. Would I ever want to be one…why not? I have definitely made a start and try out my ideas on my patient students. With The Mind Lab there will soon be even more to try out on them. I’m part of a small group of teachers at my school who are trying to bring about some changes, our first one being the Classroom Contiki which will be introduced to teachers next week (watch this space!).

To be continued…

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About Jo Smith

Health & PE teacher and TIC Outdoor Education at Aotea College.
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