Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Blogger Behind This Blog #4

I'm not really sure why I do it to myself, but I often find myself cramming my life with a million and one extra commitments. I have some sort of goal that I am heading toward and I grab at anything I think will help me get there along the way. Living like this means that I continually experience huge amounts of learning and growth, but often feel as though I'm racing through life.

My current goal is to develop my skills as a leader. And it embarrasses me to say that. I feel like I'm big noting myself by aspiring to be a great leader. Somehow I've got it into my mind that leadership is an honour bestowed upon the worthy rather than a skill to be worked on and developed. Another image that comes to mind is that of the bossy-boots kid that wants to run the show and rule the game. I don't want to be that!

I'm about to begin post-graduate study in Educational Leadership to work toward the first half of my Masters degree. I'm also reflecting on my leadership skills using a new Leadership Framework developed by the Department of Education in my state. I'm beginning this journey with a degree of trepidation. There's a comfort in the known - I've been teaching for 8 years and have developed competence in this area. But leadership requires new skills and hard work. I may even make some mistakes! Learning is hard and it hurts sometimes - I just hope this won't hurt too much!

Here come some ramblings on my thoughts on leadership (prior to all the course material heading my way!) Feel free to leave now. :)

I'd like to be a leader who:
  • has a strong understanding of the big picture
  • provides a clear direction
  • inspires and motivates
  • brings out the best in others
  • provides opportunities for growth
  • supports and guides without 'bossing'
  • sees things through to completion
  • builds and/or maintains an effective learning community
  • communicates effectively in a range of situations
  • makes good use of available resources
While picking out a photo for this post, I found this one of some seedlings we were growing and it seemed a nice way of thinking of leadership. A good educational leader has a vision for the future, plants the seeds with staff and ensures they have the best resources and support for growth. He or she is alongside staff members helping them to become stronger and deepen their roots. And then I realised...that's what we teachers do - but with kids.

Those of you who have taken this journey before me, please feel free to share your story or leave your encouragement in the comments below!


  1. Hi Penny
    Good on you for sharing this great post at the start of your leadership journey. You are wise to aspire to be the best leader you can possibly be. As one who has just completed my postgrad in Ed. Leadership & Management I commend you for heading in this direction. Yes it is learning new skills, but building on the great skills you already have as a competent teacher. You are already a leader inspiring others in so many ways. You now will learn to use your talents to work through and with others. Your bullet points are great. When I was studying we did a group assignment on educational leadership - I was part of the Whare group you may like to look at our presentation:
    Good luck with your studies Penny!
    Sing out if I can help in anyway (I can email you assignments to view?)

  2. Hi Penny,

    I strongly recommend getting hold of a book called "Tribes" by Seth Godin (not sure if it's available in Australia yet, you may need to order it from Amazon) It's a spectacular book about motivating people and being the kind of leader that that people want to follow. I would also recommend a book by Bill Hybels called "Axiom" that has a whole bunch of very practical organisational leadership advice. It's a church based book rather than an educational based one, but using the principle of arbitrage I think you'll find 99% of the adivise will transfer beautifully. I have a copy if you want to sneak a peak. I've read it twice and find that it applies to my work in IT as well as my not for profit stuff. Would love to sit and chat sometime. :)

    Michelle G

  3. I think you are doing a wonderful job of honing your leadership skills. I feel we all have these skills at different times of our lives and that we all should share this responsibility. When I talk to others about leadership, I like to share this picture ( I think it says it all.


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