Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Self-Actualized School Leader

September 15, 2014 

As many of us remember the work of Abraham Maslow and the pyramid of needs to become a self-actualized human being, leaders could learn something sincere and poignant in driving the direction of their organizations.

This week’s blog post is a review of an excellent article from the business community that could contribute immensely to the world of 21st Century School Leaders. Despite the barrage of federal and state mandates and everything common core, leaders are still needed and in great demand as the focal points for school organizations. All we need to do is look at the models from business, and most recently the CEO’s of companies such as Apple and other technology companies.

We as school leaders can learn much from what occurred this week.

Our first article of note comes from the American Express Open Forum. In a wonderful expose of trait characteristics demonstrated by “great” leaders Julie Bawden Davis presents a wonderful outline for school leaders to emulate. She presents an interesting thesis that the "self-actualized leader" will be the most effective in bringing dynamic drive and interest to their organization. Basing her ideal on the work of noted American psychologist, Abraham Maslow, she constructs a list of eight traits worthy of the self-actualized leader:

Self-Actualized Leaders are:

1. Accepting: “Self-actualized leaders accept themselves, as well as their employees, colleagues, vendors and customers, as they are rather than hoping for something different.”

2. Humble: Jill Salzman describes them as “ the ones who don’t act like they’re great leaders, but employees and others in their orbit look up to them as though they are. In other words, self-actualized leaders will never tell you that they’re leaders, but everyone knows they are.”

3. Willing to seek assistance: “Self-aware leaders have no problem reaching out to their customers and clients or membership bases and asking questions that reveal their lack of knowledge or skills in certain areas.”

4. Able to solve problems: “Self-aware leaders know they can be and do anything, and they realize that no problem is too big as long as they’re willing to put in the hard work to solve it”

5. Realistic: “Self-actualized leaders are fully aware of their personal faults and the weaknesses of their businesses.”

6. Spontaneous: “When an interesting idea or suggestion is made, self-actualized leaders aren’t afraid to put tradition and schedules aside to try something new.”

7. Independent: “While self-aware leaders work well with others and aren’t afraid to ask for assistance, they're also more likely to be autonomous.”

8. Grateful: “Self-actualized leaders view the world with a perpetual sense of wonder and appreciation.”

The true question that evinces the "self-actualized" leader is the perspective to pursue a quality style if leadership that demonstrates integrity and support for the members of the school.