Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What makes a good leader?

Leadership is a topic I’ve explored and analyzed throughout my life and is a featured topic in The Calling to Lead. In life, we stated classifications and identifications of what makes a good leader and I will talk about this in the case of education and politics; the two fields with which I am most familiar. Ideally, parents instill qualities in the children such as knowing all sides of a particular issue, problem solving, interpersonal skills, intrapersonal skills, loyalty and how to achieve success honestly that will be the setup for good leadership skills to be practiced.

As the child goes through school, their teachers must have strong leadership skills to reinforce what should be taught at home, and this is even more imperative when the child is not being taught how to be a leader at home. To most hit this home to their students, teachers need to teach leadership by example. Apply real life situations to the content, act in the classroom as you want your students to act, teach all sides of the issue so students know how to think, and most importantly, infuse leadership skills within the content being taught. What seems so easy does not always happen, and as an educator, I have seen many distasteful acts that range from lacking tact, to being considered “conduct unbecoming of an educator,” to being illegal. Those teachers are committing acts that are detrimental to American’s youth and give the profession a bad name. And at the next level, Administrators need to be true leaders; setting the example for their teachers, working with their teachers to make them become better teachers, finding the strengths in their teachers so they can best be exhibited, hiring the teachers best suited to teach the students and acting as a visible, positive force within the school community. Many times, administrators do not follow this formula, instead, putting others before their teachers, lacking visibility within the school and lacking the interpersonal skills to act as a positive leader. By their lack of leadership, they are enabling the teachers who harm the profession. In both cases of teacher and administrator, they need to remember they are there in the interest of the students to build tomorrow’s leaders.

In terms of politicians, good leadership, first and foremost, comes when they make decisions based on the Constitution, the best interests of those they represent, as well as the United States as a whole. A strong leader will also follow through on promises made, not saying one thing and doing the other. Sometimes those decisions may be considered unpopular by some, but it’s those leaders who do not sway, are honest with Americans and deliver on their promises that make them strong leaders. Their primary interest is not ‘being liked,’ but instead, caring about getting the job done. In the future, I’ll examine and analyze various politicians and their leadership skills or lack thereof.

I will close with something I heard Rush Limbaugh talk about last week. In his monologue near the end of his show, along with interaction with callers, Rush stated the quote, “Knowledge will give you the confidence of your beliefs. Once you have the confidence of your beliefs that are in your core, nobody can talk you out of them.” Taking this out of the political context in which Rush placed it, this quote heavily applies to good leadership. A true leader, whether a politician, educator, manager or parent, will plan course of action, know that course of action to the nth degree and may face criticism for their chosen path. If they do not bend, if they do not change course to be considered popular and if they follow through, they will not only be successful, but in the long run, they will be remembered as good leaders.

No comments:

Post a Comment