The Reflective Educator

Education ∪ Math ∪ Technology

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Good leaders, bad leaders

I’ve worked in 4 different schools in my 9 years as a teacher, but under 18 different administrators. Yes, that’s two different administrators per year, on average.

Some of those administrators have been good, some of them have been bad. Some of them have inspired me, some of them have only inspired fear. Some of them have helped move the school forward, and some of them have been incompetent.

A general trend I’ve noticed is that the good leaders know how to help teachers implement good ideas, and how to politely point out the flaws in bad ideas. The good leaders have trusted teachers as professionals and have never acted from a position of authority, but instead from a position of moral leadership. The good leaders have focused on the question, what is best for the children, rather than what will make me look the best. Good leaders develop leadership and actively encourage it.

The bad leaders have squashed ideas, failed to follow through on their promises, and acted without reason. They have shown up 8 months late for meetings and tried to set the agenda for a group, and disciplined teachers for dropping pencils. Bad leaders treat attempts at leadership from their subordinates as challenges, rather than opportunities. The bad leaders have enacted policies that will not work, have been proven not to work, because they apparently lacked the imagination or the drive to do better.

Bad leadership can be disastrous for a school, whereas with good leaders, you are often unaware of their presence, everything just works.

I know this post isn’t so much about technology leadership so much as just leadership, however, good leaders encourage innovation, and bad leaders have no idea what innovation looks like.