In our Future Leaders Academy discussions, both on and off-line, there is an overarching tenor that emerges: leaders can be found throughout our schools. Those engaged in the program are teachers and current administrators, those who are open to becoming principals and directors, and those who are most interested in teacher leader roles.
However, in spite of a wealth of leadership capacity, the reality is, in each school and organization, the buck stops with someone, and generally, that someone is an individual. Yes, there are leadership teams in place, but, when push comes to shove, there is one person who is ultimately in charge. Huge responsibility.
Recently, I’ve been re-reading segments of Collins’ Good to Great, and I’ve really been thinking of the ideas behind Level 5 Leadership, something that resonates for me when I think of the great leaders I’ve been privileged to work with.
Collins says that the leaders of companies in his study, those that moved from good to great, as the title suggests, had two emerging qualities: humility and will. These were unassuming leaders, but absent the ostentatious exterior, we must not assume that they were push-overs. Rather, they tirelessly worked in support of company goals and mission. They were cutthroat in the sense that they kept all focus on the end result, but they did not claim full responsibility when things went well. On the converse, I would guess that they would take responsibility, as leader, when things went poorly. It’s almost as if their tenacity and commitment meant that they didn’t have the time, space, or urge to take the credit, or to be in the spotlight.
Collins urges readers to think of his book in terms of the connections to our own industries, in this case school, and I think that there are many applications to consider, which I’ll pose in the form of questions:
I’m particularly interested in that last question. I’ve heard it said before that the teacher is the CEO of their own classroom. Given that logic, what must follow for our decisions and interactions with students, parents, and other educators? How might we demonstrate that humility? How might we demonstrate that tenacity?