April 16, 2011
My philosophy of leadership is built on a strong belief in respect. Respect must encompass all people with whom I have contact. I believe that if I am respectful of others, I in turn will gain their respect. To create a collaborative work environment, it is essential that there is mutual respect. I believe a leader is someone who has the ability to influence, encourage, listen, and nurture. They are able to inspire, stimulate, persuade, shape, and have an effect on others. According to John C. Maxwell in his book Leadership 101 (Maxwell, 2002), “everyone is a leader because everyone influences someone. Not everyone will become a great leader, but everyone can become a better leader”. Maxwell states that “each of us influences at least 10,000 other people in our lifetime”. Maxwell challenges us by stating, “The question is not WHETHER you will influence someone, but HOW you will use your influence”. I believe that effective leaders learn from those around them, and adapt their leadership style as necessary to deal with diverse personalities and evolving situations. The contingency theory of leadership supports the fact that no one leadership style is best in all situations. Other variables besides the leadership style that must be considered are who the participants are, and what the situation is. An effective leader must be flexible and willing to change when necessary.
I believe that leadership is much more than just staffing, but that staffing is an important task for a leader. A leader must find staff that fit the position and organization. They must define performance standards, and maintain accountability among the staff. A leader is responsible for ensuring that staff understands what is expected of them, but I think a good leader does not need to micromanage. If expectations are clearly defined, then staff should be allowed the freedom to determine how a task or project will be completed. A good leader acts as a mentor who coaches and counsels their staff. They offer guidance by identifying strengths and weaknesses, and through a collaborative effort they determine areas of focus. This method is an effective way motivate, and to enhance the competencies of others. I believe educational leaders must relate to staff by motivating them, arousing a personal commitment, organizing the environment, and facilitating the work of all employees around the organizations vision (Owens & Valesky, 2007).
I believe that good leaders possess a combination of many positive traits that come together to form and define their leadership style and philosophy. I believe to be a leader, a person must have integrity. They must be honest and lead by example. They should have the ability to empower others to deliver the desired results. Strong leaders help others find the answers that they need. Participative leadership (Owens & Valesky, 2007) strives to find the potential and good qualities of each group member. A good leader celebrates the success of those around them in a sincere and honest manner.
I believe that an effective leader should be empathetic. They must be able to put themselves in the shoes of other employees and understand the impact that their decisions will have on others. I think that a good leader is consistent and fair. Dependability and reliability are important traits of superior leaders, as is a sense of justice. Good communication skills are essential to being a strong leader. A leader must be able to convey their thoughts clearly, concisely and accurately, both verbally and in writing. Open communication is critical for a leader; a good leader communicates their vision and strives to reach a common ground.
Successful leaders should be able to understand and balance diverse perspectives. We are all shaped by our environments, and this affects the way we look at the...