The first blog of EADM 820…I’m feeling a little rusty but here goes!
In Unit 2: Leadership…? Stephen and Kirsten asked us to reflect on our current leadership style at the present time using the following questions:
1) Discuss your own core personality as a foundation of your leadership style.
I am a self-professed “easy-going” type of person. I try my absolute best to not let things that are not going well get to me and I approach issues from an open standpoint, willing to discuss and come to a mutual resolution. I wouldn’t say that I avoid conflict on purpose but my general demeanor usually leads to me shaking off the tension that I feel over the situation, realizing I cannot travel time to fix what happened, and work towards a solution. Knowing this, I appreciate input from different sources when making a decision and search out a variety of opinions and perspectives. I look to bounce ideas off of multiple people when I am decision-making, constantly looking for someone to play devil’s advocate for me. Overall, I am flexible in my thinking and enjoy being challenged in what I have set as my current status quo…a concept that is constantly growing from new readings, new people, and new experiences. I love leaving room for what I would call a person’s “flair” in life, that is what makes things interesting.
Thinking about this, I would say that I have a leadership style that falls under the Relationship/Transformational theory as I value the connections and conversations that I have with others and this is a critical factor for me when it comes to decision-making and leading. I do not wish to be the dictator, but rather someone who helps implement the ideas and address the concerns of those around me in a meaningful manner. I follow Participative theory in that I search out others opinions but I also believe that there is value in the Contingency Theories as there are certain people that, based on their “degree of fit” in terms of situation, style, or followers, will be the best leader.
I would describe my leadership style as Charismatic and Democratic/Participative. I include all team members in the decision-making process which helps them feel like an integral part of the process and, in doing so, motivate team members to move forward and feel connected to the outcomes of the task. I feel like I blend these two styles in a way that all team members feel like they are capable of taking over the leadership position if I leave, the negative side of charismatic leadership, and I retain enough autonomy to make quick decisions when needed, knowing that my team will follow and that I have the relationship with them which will allow me to anticipate major issues and opinions that they may bring forth.
2. Describe one or two key life experiences that have helped to shape your approach to leadership.
Mindset by Carol Dweck was a very influential book for me. It really made me sit down and think about how I phrase things in the classroom and when I talk with others and to look at what is making some more successful than others. When reading this review, the first thing that jumped out at me was the distinction between the concepts of leaders that are born in the “Great Man” and trait theories (fixed mindset) and leaders that are made through learning in behavioural, participative, and democratic theories (growth mindset). Dweck describes how a person’s view of the world can greatly shape their success (or lack thereof) and uses examples from business, sports, and education to show how some of the most successful people in these fields have been able to find their success. she advocates that leaders need to see the whole picture and not be afraid to explore all levels of an organization, including the issues in order to be able to lead in a meaningful way. Much of her theories and research rest in participative and relationship/transformational theories of leadership as described in the review.
Working at The Home Depot during my undergraduate degree, I completed training and worked in many departments, eventually settling at the Customer Service desk. In this position, I was required to make decisions regularly on how to fix a large variety of problems from no stock, damaged merchandise, and otherwise upset customers in a way that left the customer happy and was reasonable for the store’s well-being. This role of mediation helped me develop as a democratic leader as I needed to hear all sides of the story before I was able to make a recommendation or suggestion to fix the issue. As an employee who had the training in multiple departments, I was often in a good position to understand the various different perspectives of the situation (customer, store, associate), determine where the issue occurred and determine the appropriate action to have the issue resolved.
3. Discuss at least three leadership approaches in the PDF that interest you.
Creative Leadership – This leadership style builds on the ideas and thoughts I have developed through reading Mindset. I like that it involves every team member in the decision-making is involved and that the leader works to motivate, inspire, and empower their team to achieve their goal or task. They work on TRUST, something that is hard to build but very critical in leadership roles, especially in education. The most appealing of this style of leadership: the creation of a health and empowering environment. This is the type of environment that I try to foster in my classroom for my students, my current “team”, and it leads to students feeling like anything is possible!
Sustainable Leadership – Sustainability is a hot topic these days. We see it in discussions around the environment, government, and education. Sustainability is important as education has a high burn-out rate of teachers and keeping good educators in the classroom can be an act of good leadership. In developing my personal leadership skills, I hope to develop skills that will help not only myself sustain my position but also help others in the education field “stick it out”, especially in these tumultuous times!
Laissez-Faire Leadership- This style intrigues me as, on the surface, it seems to be the non-leadership leadership style. With deeper consideration, I feel that, in many ways, school administration often takes a Laissez-Faire approach to different aspects of schools allowing for teacher autonomy in planning classroom activities, covering curricula, and managing their classrooms.
The above reflection is based on an excerpt from:
Amanchukwu, R.N., Stanley, G.J., & Ololube, N.P. (2015). A review of leadership theories, principles, and styles and their relevance to educational management. Management, 5(1), 6-14.