Monday, January 16, 2012

Teaching and Leadership

I reconnected recently to the field of leadership. I am taking a class on instructional design from Dee Fink and am reading his book "Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses." When talking about teacher credibility, Fink draws from the work of Kouzes and Polzner and highlights these three characteristics: competence (knowledge of the subject), trustworthiness (have the best interest of the student at heart), and dynamism (excited about the subject).

This lead me to revisit the books that I have on leadership.  I plan to share a summary every so often.  Below is a summary from Frances Hesselbein's book. My life in leadership: The journey and lessons learned along the way.

There are several key take aways from this book, one is that leadership is done in the spirit of service. Another has to do with inclusion and the role the leader plays in helping people grow the mission in their hearts and minds so they can express it everyday in their work.  Hesselbein suggests that this is how you grow the organization of the future. She describes how she implemented what she calls circular management versus hierarchical command and control, in her role as the CEO of the Girl Scouts of America and now as the CEO of the Leader to Leader Institute. Hesselbein defines leadership this way. "Leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do. You and I spend most of our lives learning how to do and teaching others how to do, yet it is the quality and character of the leader that determines performance, the results. Leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do" (p.89).  She suggests that we use the power of saying no as a way to define ourselves and out organizations. Being true to our values and our personal and organizational mission requires saying no. It enhances the ethical performance of the leader and the organization. I love this quote from President Lincoln.

     I am not bound to win,
     But I am bound to be true.
     I am not bound to succeed,
     But I am bound to live
     Up to the light I have.

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