As a classroom teacher, I am a leader in my own right. However, in that capacity, I am also aware of the many mistakes I made. Through it all, the most powerful lesson I have learned about leadership and teaching is the quality of relationships I have developed with people. Aspiring leaders should consider the seven points below as a template not only for informing and guiding their relationships with people but also for developing their style of leadership. One’s style of leadership ultimately begins by leading from within.
Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in the #CoachingLeaders Twitter chat, which takes place every Thursday from 9-10 PM EST. I learned so much from those who are far more expert than I am on the topic of leadership. At the same time, I held my own in a conversation in which I am merely an emergent leader. Here are seven points which emerged for me during the conversation. The topic was conflict in leadership:
- Low morale, gossip in the break room, and passive-aggressive behavior, create and exacerbate conflict in leadership. An effective leader mediates and negotiates these situations to a productive and positive outcome.
- An effective leader often exhibits overlapping leadership styles: competing, collaborating, compromising, accommodating, and avoiding.
- An effective leader needs to leverage most or all of the five aforementioned leadership styles, depending on the day, and on the situation.
- Leading is challenging. In order to lead effectively during challenging times, one must develop high Emotional Intelligence (EI).
- When a leader avoids conflict, it means he/she lacked skills, confidence, and/or self-esteem. The end-result is that he/she feared his/her employees.
- A strong indicator of a person’s leadership style is how he/she interacts with others on a regular basis. Is the style combative, or collaborative?
- To manage conflict, an effective leader needs to establish trust, listen authentically, and bring about collaboration and compromise.
Over the course of a 20 year teaching career, I have had ample opportunity to observe others in leadership positions, and I have been very mindful regarding what they did well and not-so-well. Experience via direct observation is a powerful teacher. I conclude my thoughts on leadership with the following video of Dr. Pedro Noguera, professor of education at New York University, who shares his wonderful insights on effective educational leadership versus ineffective educational leadership. #LeadingFromWithin
Photo Courtesy of The Leader in Me by Stephen Covey