By Dr. Andrea Mabel Edrad Abrencillo | Special to the BusinessMirror
IN my 23 years in the Department of Education, I was inspired by Canadian educator Carol Stephenson on her experiences that were almost the same as mine. I dearly love the teaching profession. I value leaders as people who do the right thing. I have witnessed a heterogenity of leaders in action—both good and bad.
Good is the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country; works collaboratively and receptive to the ideas and views of others; enjoys talking with and listening to their employees and education stakeholders; develops an acute understanding of the peoples’ capabilities and potential while learning from their successes as well as their failures; and cultivate an atmosphere at work that stimulate creativity and engendered employee loyalty.
Bad is the person who commands and exercises control and who closets herself in their ivory towers—ruling by fear and intimidation. This person is the only one who knows everything as she is filled with egotism. This person is the worst to work with or for, and the organizations inevitably suffers from low morale, poor productivity and high turnover.
However, the best leaders:
• Have a strong sense of values and a clear vision. These leaders not only talk about their ethical values, they live by those values. They continually foster a climate of trust—from what they say, to how they listen and to how they act on what they learned through their vision.
• Have a strong passion for helping learners. Can understand pedagogy inside out and are able to define “why,” while doing something different in their practice. They take a “known good” over an “unknown better” in most cases; and help make the unknown visible and show why it is better for learners.
• Have a strong encouragement for teachers. They use the strengths-based leadership, something that should be standard with administrators to teachers, as it should be standard with teachers to kids.
• Have a strong impulse toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment. They establish the atmosphere of commitment, teamwork and energy that characterize successful organizations.
• Have a strong commitment to prepare for the “clear the path.” They give the answer that “we need to change the policy before you can move forward” if it is possible.
• Have a strong desire-needed for “elbow deep learning.”
They have done things that have not been done before, are willing to embrace the change that they speak about and are be able to talk from a place of experience. My most tectonic chops, these quiddities of a good leader will help you start from the uniqueness of your culture and organization thereby increasing your potentials by reflecting on this : Are teachers doing something better “because of me” or “in spite of me?”
Leaders must make a connection to the heart before they make a connection to the mind.