What is your leadership style?
When asked that question recently, I said my leadership style was quiet. Upon deeper reflection, I realized that often people don't think of leadership as quiet. But I think there is much good that comes out of being a quiet leader - and being led by one. When I think about those that I've learned from during my career, the leaders that made the biggest impact on me personally and professionally were the quiet ones. They made me feel secure and helped me to grow. They believed in me when I doubted myself, were the first to celebrate the wins with me when I pushed myself to try something new, and there to reflect with me when things didn't go as planned - all so I could become better. So what does it mean to be quiet as an educational leader?
A leader should be quiet....when they need to be - which is often. The way I see it, that is the real test of leadership: knowing when to be quiet and when not to be. We must listen to hear and learn, not to react and respond. I listen quite a bit more than I talk. In my role as a Digital Teaching & Learning Specialist, I work with educators at all stages in their careers and comfort levels with digital tools and strategies. I have to be quiet, ask questions, and listen to hear so that I may discern where they are in order to best meet their needs and help them grow. Often, I have to find a common ground or launching point. I need to connect all of the dots to reveal the picture of what is the true problem of practice. In this case, quiet means being
OBSERVANT & PATIENT
As I talk with them and observe their practice, I ask questions. I gather details and listen so that I may identify their true roadblock or source of hesitancy with trying a new strategy or method. We talk about the data...not just numbers and test scores. Quantitative data only presents part of the picture. I may meet with them individually or as part of a role-alike group, and we often schedule a return visit, allowing us both time to process and plan our next steps. In this case, quiet means being
REFLECTIVE & EMPATHETIC
I work to build relationships (ours and those with their colleagues) that will become the foundation for their successes. As we talk and work together, I look and listen for the "sparks" or other little glimmers of what fuels this person, group, or organization. I reach out to others that have the same interests or had similar struggles. I help connect educators with the resources, human and otherwise, that will propel them towards their goals. Once that spark or interest is identified, or ignited if need be, the rest of our work together gently fans the flames of pedagogical growth. In this case, quiet means being
NURTURING & SUPPORTIVE
So to me, leadership is quiet. Leading (or coaching) is an unassuming role that means we put others before self. The purpose of a coach is to support and grow others. I never set out to be a leader, I just had a passion for transforming learning for students and wanted to share that with others, helping them realize their passion for it along the way. I believe this desire in every educator. So when I see those I work with shine, that is my true reward.