Wednesday, 7 August 2013
Why I Lead
George has started us out with a challenging question. It is not that I have never thought of this question, it is just that I have never put these down as a blog post. I think I have always been fasinated by the concept of what leadership really is. As a high school teacher, I was involved and ran leadership camps for high school students. My best experience was working at the provincial level with student leaders from across Ontario. Working with students helped me to qualify what I felt were the key qualities in a leader. One of the key ideas for me was the concept of Servant Leadership, the idea that a leader can be judged by their ability to serve those most unable to help themselves. I have tried to act as a 'serveant leader' in all the leadership positions I have held over the past ten years. It is sometimes easy to forget that as leaders, we are really servants first. It is easy to get caught up in the professional pressures of the job, especially once the year get really rolling. This is one reason why it is good to post this before I stary another school year! The one question I need to ask myself is how are those I work with being served by my leadership. What am I doing to make their experience more meaningful and satisfying. As I try to answer this question, I need to consider staff, parents and students. I also believe that at a certain time in our careers, we are called to lead. It is easy to sit on the sidelines and be critical of the efforts of others, much more difficult to stand up and make the decisions that sometimes can be unpopular. I came to the conclusion around ten years ago that it was now my time to take a more active role and leave the sidelines. I am very happy that I did. Wheather as a department head, vice-principal or principal, I have really enjoyed being in a position where I can make a difference, where I can really serve. Being a leader to me also means being reflective most of the time. I need to reflect on the job I am doing. Am I offering quality leadership to the school community? Am I too caught up in the day to day administrivia that comes with this job? Am I letting my ego get in the way of good, compassionate decision making? How am I doing? Hopefully better every day. I have to realize that I need to be learning all the time. Learning more about pedagogy, technology, and the people I work with for starters. The main reason I have joined the SAVMP project is to learn and to connect with others. Ultimately, I need to show everyone in my community that I am a life long learner and that, like everyone else I am on a journey that is always changing. This is the challenge and excitement of leadership, this is what I enjoy about leadership. Facing all the challenges that come with leadership makes me the leader I am. It is my hope that I will continue to learn to be a better leader, a better servant and that I will always be open to learning more from the people around me. The journey never ends.