Saturday, February 5, 2011

Leadership Qualities

Our administrators had some sort of training in qualities of leadership from Gallup this week. Yeah, I know. I think that administrators' time is better spent in their schools than in silly trainings too. Really, why don't they do all of these trainings in the summer when school is not in session but they are still working? That mystery aside, though, it was interesting to read what strong leadership qualities our administrator has (he sent his results to the staff in an e-mail).

I thought it was interesting that one of his strengths was relator. That is what I have seen in him. He really tries to build relationships with employees and listen and relate to them. It's made things much more pleasant around our school.

He also challenged us to think about our own strengths in leadership and sent us the list of leadership areas. I don't think of myself as a leader because I prefer to be in the background if at all possible. I'm not really a follower, though, because if something doesn't make sense I will not do it even if the majority of a group is doing it or someone tells me to.

When I think about how I could be a leader at school, I have to think outside of my classroom. In my classroom, I have to be upfront directing and inspiring--not because it is my nature, but because it is my job.

Outside my classroom, though, I tend to be more of an observer and absorber. I pick up concepts, ideas, and even systems really quickly. Usually, when something new is introduced at a staff meeting, I am planning the idea or strategy in my notebook while everyone else is still trying to figure it out. People will be getting mad because the presentation was unclear but it always seems crystal clear to me.

I think my other strength is communicating. Even when I was in college, I spent a lot of time presenting the material from courses to my classmates. When I was in introduction to philosophy, a lot of my classmates were really confused. I used to have meetings with most of my class and re-explain the content. I didn't actually need to study for philosophy because it was my best subject, but I met with these "study groups" because I knew they didn't understand the material and I knew how to explain it so that it would make sense to them.

Currently, I am the person who people come to after the latest and greatest thing is introduced to us to say, "What the Hell is rti?" or "What do these concepts on the cgi rubric actually mean?" Whether I agree with the strategy or not I'll be able to help people understand what we are being asked to do. If I agree with it, I will even explain why the idea makes sense, and usually get the person on board.

I never really thought about those two qualities as leadership but the Gallup survey calls them analytical and communication. I guess if you look at leadership as the times when others turn for you to direction, then those qualities would qualify.

There was also some value in thinking about strengths in leadership. I am aware of my deficits. Things like having a commanding presence or empathy or probably even relator don't come naturally to me. I have to work on them, but as I thought about what does come naturally to me, it made me think about how I could actually use those qualities to be a better leader.

I know that I have to be drawn out. I will not ever volunteer my analysis of a situation or idea. People come to me because they know me, and they know I have the capability to process all the information they give us and spit it out in terms that make sense, but if you don't know me, then you probably won't get my help because I hate to attract attention to myself.

I think one professional goal I could have outside of the classroom would be to be more involved in committees or processes that need someone to help the group process the vast amounts of complex information we use to make decisions.

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