Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Good leaders are empowering and inspiring

Today I received the weekly bulletin from one of our schools.  The email started off telling us that it is going to be a terrific week - this made me feel positive right away.  In addition, right at the top of the bulletin was this thought:
Quality is never an accident... it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.
~ Will Foster
How inspired I felt today, when I read these words!  And this got me thinking about and reading more about what makes a leader great.  This is what I have come up with:

  • Inspires others to action, yet is not overly directive
  • Has a vision for the future and clear goals and directions for moving forward
  • Inspires confidence among those in the team that there will be real follow through on decisions and that what is planned for will actually be achieved
  • Listens to the ideas of others
  • Encourages and empowers others - puts priority on releasing the potential of others - sees others' strengths and helps them find a way to use those strengths
  • Is able to adapt well to changes - this requires a capacity for innovation
Great leaders need to be good at balancing - they have to inspire those in their teams to action, develop a vision for the future and help those involved feel that it is achievable, yet at the same time they have to ensure that everyone in the team feels that their perspectives and contributions have been heard.  Actually all those skills don't have to be present in just one person - an effective leader also has an accurate picture of his or her own strengths and can find others who can use their own strengths in a complimentary way.  Teamwork is everything!

Photo Credit:  Reach by James Jordan


  1. I love that quote and fully agree with your final thought. Great leaders do not operate in a vacuum but take advantage of the resources around them!

  2. I also read a great quote today on Twitter - I think it was @gcouros (I can't remember for sure) but it said great leaders do not create followers, they create new leaders and I really lived that as after a co-teaching lesson the other day the other teacher commented in how the students were working at their own pace, sometimes leading, sometimes bouncing ideas off each other and sometimes just working on their own. That to me is a reflection if how the students are leading their own learning within the framework of our learning outcomes. It was a lovely affirmation that as classroom teachers we are leaders too empowering our students to be leaders too.

  3. Hi Rebecca,
    I read a great blog post by George Couros today too! He said:
    Leaders lead in 3 ways:
    Leaders stand in front of you when they lead and share the vision.
    Leaders stand beside you with their sleeves rolled up ready to do the hard work to ensure your organization achieves success.
    Leaders stand behind you and encourage you to reach your full potential.

    George is one of the most inspirational leaders I know of and all I can say is that the teachers who work with him are lucky, lucky lucky.

    I think that you have definitely identified a common problem with some leaders - they want followers. Very few want to create new leaders. Very few are secure enough to want to encourage anyone to be better than themselves.