Thursday, December 9, 2010

Great Leaders

I was chatting to a colleague today about leadership.  We were talking about changes in the IT department and how important it was to have the right people to lead this change.  I was talking about the leaders in my previous school and how they are blogging in order to share their thinking and solicit feedback from the school community.  Later today I read a post called 3 Traits That Make Top Leaders Great.  In a nutshell it comes down to this:

  • They are who they are - I love having educational conversations with people - I love moving my thinking forward with new ideas.  For me the people who have made the most impact on me as leaders were very clear about their ideas and "walked the talk" every day.  You knew what they stood for and you knew they would support you, therefore you trusted them.  There are some wonderful people I have worked with as leaders who I would work with again in a heartbeat.  There are others I would never work with again.  Honesty, commitment, authenticity - that's what I value.
  • Good communicators - How many times have I heard the expression "my door is always open", when in reality it rarely is?  At times I have seen leaders who have encouraged people to be open and honest, but when people brought up problems all that happened was that they were seen as the problem.  I like it when I know where I stand with someone - that what is said to my face is the same as what is said behind my back.  It's important to listen, but it's also important to speak out about what is important.
  • They pick the right people and make them great -  Sometimes people in leadership positions don't pick the best people - maybe it is an insecurity, perhaps a fear that someone else will look better than them.  Maybe it's because they like to be in charge so pick people who won't challenge them.  Maybe it's because they are more concerned with promoting their friends.  Building a good team is vital.  The leaders that I have most respected are the ones who trusted me, supported me and offered me new opportunities for growth - at times seeing things in me that I never even saw in myself.  They opened up new horizons for me.  They stretched me.  I am grateful and thankful that I have had these great leaders in my life.
Photo Credit:  Leadership by Ed Gaillard

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