Here you have my thoughts about leadership. Leadership is leadership. Yes, of course, a leader must have a vision — and must be able to get things done. A leader must have great follow through and, in my opinion, must be able to work well with others. The skill set is basically the same whether you are a teacher leader in your building, a principal leader of your school — or the U.S. Secretary of Education — or the Prez himself. Help me brainstorm. Leave your own ideas about leadership. As I read your comments, I will add the ones I think useful for our politicians to see — the skills that perhaps they themselves aren’t taking advantage of as they lead the Great American School Reform Movement.
Have you ever watched the TV show, “Undercover Boss?” What a humbling experience for a CEO to realize that his employees “in the trenches” know much more than he does about the inner workings of his company.
As a principal, I found this rule to be the most important of all:
Leadership Rule #1: Stop talking. Close your lips. Listen. Those you are leading know more than you do.They will save you many hours of frustration and keep you from making many mistakes. Message to Arne Duncan [at the time of this writing he was the U.S. Secretary of Education]: the word getting around recently is that you are willing to hold forums and conversations with teachers — but when they attempt to offer their comments, you do most of the talking. Not good, Arne. To repeat: Leadership Rule #1: Listen.
I followed up the above post on November 12, 2010 after I read a blog found on edweek.org
The writer is Chris Hitch, a school administrator. The post is called “When the Boss Says, ‘I Think,’ the Thinking Stops.” Below is a quote from his post. Read it. Notice who gave him this good advice.
Leadership Rule #2:“The best leaders put a great deal of effort into defining the issue/challenge/opportunity and the parameters. They focus on the “what”, “when”, and “why” but have their team focus on the “how” within the parameters that were set.”
Leadership Rule #3: What do you think? What traits make up a good leader? I am listening. I’ll be waiting to read your thoughts in the comment section below.