Today, we are all trying to live up to our clients' expectations, while striving to create the best possible world for our students. How can we do this? Our school is now sitting on literally 4 toes. Our staff, board, department, and community are literally connected to all points of development.
Think just how successful you can be if you embed leadership values in every classroom, board, department, and community. I think it's possible to achieve this kind of paradigm shift, beginning today. To paraphrase Paul McCartney, "Quality control is not something, I mean process." Instead of developing employees to meet a deadline, or cajoling them to meet a deadline, we must develop quality control and accountability measures.
In my last article, I mentioned that, traditionally, some people have a much easier time learning how to manage an organization than others. In simple terms, the easiest people to learn how to manage are those that are already on the inside. They have the most experience and have already worked to develop the culture and system that we're working towards.
Therefore, our best bet is to concentrate on developing the process of learning instead of the end result. Now, I will give you another example that validates and supports this thesis. Last week, I was invited to sponsor a mini-course on leadership at a local University in DC. This course was actually designed to give young business owners an concise definition of what a leader is, in hopes that they will then be able to understand the concept of leadership for themselves.
Here's what I learned:
A leader is defined as the leader of his or her followers.
A follower is someone who is led.
Leaders are usually an ideal standard of conduct for the organization.
Underlings or Acting Peers are defined as those who are actually placed in charge of carrying out tasks and managing the day-to-day affairs of the organization.
If you're looking for a textbook definition of a leader, this course will supply one. In this case, the leader is usually the person who describes himself or herself as the leader.
Now, that we've dealt with the concept of leadership and how it plays an important role in the classroom, its time to focus our attention on effective techniques for teaching everybody how to become a good leader.
I believe that leaders and followers alike can learn the ropes of leadership through the course we're about to discuss. Let's begin by looking at the first technique you can use - Leadership Diagrams.
Once you have grasped the idea of leadership diagrams, simply draw a few leadership diagrams representing different values. Depending on your students, you may want to draw some that illustrate traditional values, liberal values, spiritual values, and so on. Draw a few different diagrams for each value and define a leader for each group.
Here are the requirements to consider for each diagram:
Leadership consists of two elements: Authority and Knowledge. For example, the authority element relates to the position of the leader and the knowledge to perform certain tasks. In the same way that an athlete directs his team in whatever way they need to win a ball game, a leader is responsible for his or her group.
These diagrams should be drawn at the very beginning of the class and should be referred to whenever the idea of leadership is raised. They must be kept to the point and yet encompass all the aspects of leadership. They need to represent all aspects of leadership - authority, knowledge, integrity, and discipline.
Finally, you must do something with these diagrams once they have been used to help illustrate the concept of leadership. Either you must take the students through the sequence of the diagrams or you can simply put each diagram into a PowerPoint slide. Either way, once you've done that, the question becomes, "What is the point of this diagram? How do these different diagrams relate to making a point about the leadership concept?
Here's one more example that certainly demonstrates the importance of the leadership diagram:
In this sample diagram the leader's power is balanced by the pursuit of unpopular friends and the desire to be popular. unpopular friends are clearly unacceptable in the long-term picture of the organization. However, the desire to be popular and successful is the essential leadership characteristic.
Once you have done your discussion of the leadership diagram, you must then decide how you will relate this idea to the student leaders in your class. You can either go out for a much-needed jog or you can elect leaders for each group through open-book voting. ichever course of action is taken, remember it's essential that the student leaders grasp the nature of the power of the diagram and start to apply it today.