(Originally posted on Connected Lead Learner)
By Glenn Robbins
The question that I present to everyone is how many people can honestly say that this quote represents your current leader, management, coach, and/or principal? “An upbeat manager that goes through the day with a positive outlook ends up running a team or organization filled with upbeat people” (Welch 2005).
John F. Kennedy once stated that “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
It is imperative that all leaders continue the path of being life long learners to help better their schools, students, teachers, parents, and all stakeholders as they move forward each day. Successful leaders, coaches, and management have a trait in common that is vital to success, which is trust. If one cannot instill trust to his or her environment then true change cannot occur. Often in society today, many managers tend to “give in” or “ignore” slacking employees and transfer their responsibilities to others who do the job correctly for them. In a sense if your allow it, you promote it. This struggle to actually rise up and hold individuals accountable is a frustration that could be found in just about any work environment. True leaders are the ones who can motivate, inspire, and promote trust by maintaining expectations, communication, building relationships all while treating everyone equally while holding them each accountable.
Before I became the Lead Learner (Principal) of my own building, I worked as a teacher, soccer coach, and assistant principal within one school district. During my 9 years in the district, I had 5 new principals, who each were all drastically different in leadership styles. As a life long learner, I took it upon myself to analyze and learn from each of them to improve my own craft. Yet, as I learned numerous “do’s and don’ts” from them, the one underlining topic that coming back to me was trust. My father who was a third generation water well driller who ran his company would regularly tell me to remember that people come before programs and the it’s not the problem that you have, it’s how you handle it. The frustration that I developed under several of my bosses was that they would fail to build trust, fail to build relationships as they only wanted results, and they would base decisions off of emotions that would often lead to larger issues.
We must embrace critical remarks, and suggestions to continually try to improve who we are as people and leaders. Too often in my experience many leaders are against change and refuse to listen to suggestions as they let “power” take over their mindset. As a Lead Learner in my own building, we installed many changes that were based on teacher and student suggestions. I view leadership as a privilege and an honor to have the ability to make a positive difference in someones life. It is a goal of this Lead Learner to create an environment that risk taking and autonomy is present. Being a true leader is being a servant leader who will put his or her employees, and students first. In school settings we control the daily education of all stakeholders, and you must ask yourself, “is this the day that students will be talking about 20 years from now?”
Lastly, as a leader, bravery is a choice. In being brave, one must realize that it will be uncomfortable. You can only be courageous and/or brave or you can be comfortable, yet you cannot be both.
The question I leave you all with is: are you willing to be status quo in being comfortable in your position, or are you brave enough to try to make a difference?