Ones’ leadership style is more than just an approach, it is not a coat to take on and off, it is just as complex as one’s personality and as significant as one’s pedagogy. Just as we ask students to “think about their thinking” using metacognitive strategies and to have an awareness of what their learning looks like, we ultimately want students to create more paths to success by identifying what to do when encountering challenges. Likewise, as a leader, having an awareness of the benefits and challenges of my leadership style is essential.
Recently, I ventured back into a book I’d read three years ago, Gail M Hayes’ The Power of the Woman Who Leads. In this book, she outlines categories of leadership styles, albeit from a faith-based perspective. And, the fascinating thing about this book was not the categories themselves---because I’ve done personality profiles and professional alignment-type surveys in the past, but the thoughtful commentary she offered on how to create solutions for blind-spots within each category and suggestions on how to reflect on the value in diverse thinking. Each category represented an essential component of effective leadership, so one was not valued over another.
In this book, it was not enough to have two leaders where one balanced the other; it was more important to recognize the importance of different thinking and valuable assets that allow more teachers to have leadership that responds to their needs. The more we can cultivate relationships and connect the value of our thinking to the values embedded in what is important and needed within our school context, the more connections we will make.
In wandering back and re-assessing myself, I found that my leadership style has changed significantly. Of course, I borrowed a bit from several leadership styles, but where I was once heavy on data and statistics, I have now fall squarely into the category of a visionary. As I’ve grown professionally, as new experiences have molded me, and as I’ve reflected upon what is important for the context and the communities in which I’ve served, my focus has changed. I have also grown more comfortable with being my authentic self.
Just as we have different learners in classrooms, we have teachers who respond to a variety of approaches and learn in different ways. Even---in an ideal scenario, where teachers share collective responsibility for student growth, trust each other, and work collaboratively to meet goals, teachers can benefit from leadership self-awareness, reflection, and balance.
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