Monday, January 30, 2012

21stCenturySchoolLeaders: Great Leaders Inspire Change

21stCenturySchoolLeaders: Great Leaders Inspire changed: Great leaders don't create change. They create environments where people change themselves." Have you ever been in the presence of someone...

Great Leaders Inspire Change

Great leaders don't create change. They create environments where people change themselves."

Have you ever been in the presence of someone that was inspirational and provided a model of leadership that fired you up to do things differently?

Do you know someone that has given you a purpose to accomplish yourself in an inspirational manner? Working for that kind of person was not a chore, but an enjoyable experience?

I'm not sure many people have been affected by such leaders, but if you think back, I am sure you will find that model of leadership in your lives. The problem is that these type of people are few and far between. The secret to becoming that kind of leader is the intent of today's blog.

Having been a former musician and music educator, I have had many experiences, both good and bad, in dealing with inspirational leaders (conductors). Using my background to reflect on these types of leaders I will remember that the inspirational leader/conductor brought a positive demeanor to the ensemble. He/she did not act like a tyrant, but reacted humanistically in rehearsals, listening intently, correcting, never criticizing, acting humorously whenever there was an opportunity, and inspiring musicians to practice their parts intently so that their contributions were, in themselves, inspiring to the whole.

The same can be said about inspirational leaders in government and the military. I think of Omar Bradley and Dwight Eisenhower as the most inspiring generals of World War II, for they did not possess "brag and bluster" such as MacArthur, Patton and Montgomery. They were focused, visionary leaders that put the front line soldier first in their thought and planning.

21st Century School Leaders can certainly create that environment by considering such models for inspiring their faculty and staff to create enduring schools for children.

1) Create a vision for the faculty, parents and the students that involves them in shaping the future. It will be helpful for the staff to know the direction of their work, and the purpose for accomplishing it.
2) Lead with the organization. Set aside 3 days a week to visit faculty, staff, parents and students. This includes walk through visits in classrooms, eating lunch with the faculty and students.
3) Be visible and listen intently. Employees want to know their thoughts and ideas are valued and welcomed, without criticism.
4) Create constructive purpose in all gatherings. A meeting should be limited to one hour, and have a thoughtful agenda planned in advance.
5) Lead by example. Walk the talk.

Leadership means getting people to work through the objective of the organization.