This was a note I wrote back in 2009 on my personal Facebook page. Looking back at them and going over what was going through my head at certain periods in my life, I found a piece that kind of is still relevant to me. It's something I still wish to see happen in the 242 ... REAL Maturity in our leadership and REAL LEADERS. It just was on my heart today, so I'm posting. PS. This is the part of the blog where I inject just a bit of "realness" ... Showcasing the positives DESPITE the negatives does not mean ignoring what is before our eyes. :-) Just balancing things out more.
Anybody who knows me ... know's by now my mom passed away on Oct. 15th 2009. She was a Lecturer at The College of The Bahamas from 1993 up until her passing. I am just now starting to do the internal goings on which is naturally done in this situation of clearing up, cleaning out and making way for order.
I'm a Virgo so that shouldn't be hard to do :-)
Whilst cleaning out her library which held a VAST amount of books (Teaching, Teacher Mentoring, Reading Books, her personal Danielle Steel books lol) and memorabilia something crossed my path ... a book called "How to THRIVE as a TEACHER LEADER" by John G. Gabriel. Now I never really showed interest per say in any of my mom's books or in the teaching profession (I do have a certificate in Early Education though, but that's neither here nor there). I skimmed through the pages just glancing trying to decided whether to chuck it or keep it.
A chapter caught my attention about Leadership Qualities.
Now even though this book is really dealing with a Teacher as A Leader in her own environment it came to me that these should not be limited to just teachers but overall as well in the political front. I've only voted 1 time in my life and quite honestly I may not vote again.
Everybody is on this P.L.P. vs F.N.M.vibe and I don't really run that route. BOTH parties are still after all these years in the blame game. Quite frankly in my view both parties have failed us in our short young existence as a independent country. It's almost 2010 and we still got some islands without the basics. BOTH parties had and still have an opportunity to fix this but BOTH parties and their supporters as so stuck on who's going to get the glory over when something like changing the street lamp is done. I'm personally sick of it. BOTH parties have done horrible jobs at various times, for various things and BOTH parties have done wonderful jobs at various times for various things, give right and wrong where it's due.
I am not a political analyst nor am a avid historian which is why I speak only from what I see around me. I don't subscribe to the whole if the P.L.P. don't move fast enough with their promises time to vote them out and go to F.N.M. and if they don't do what I need fast enough then I go back to the P.L.P.
My question is where are we as a country really going if we stay in the whole P.L.P. vs F.N.M. mentality? Both parties in my view are moving forward with no real direction for this country, no real REAL, foundation for growth and empowerment for us. Both want to be that parent who never lets their child grow up ... give just enough room to go to the mall, but pull the chains back when we want to go live abroad and be on our own. I don't want to hear anymore what the past has done because if the past did something it gone now or it really wasn't all it could have been. I don't want to hear anymore what the present did either because clearly it's not enough. I want to know what my Leaders, my countrymen & women are doing now to move us not only forward but on a REAL path with a definitive future where we can stop being dependent on whether we vote F.N.M. or P.L.P. and if I got a government job or not.
Anyway, the book excerpts that got me made me think of the qualities I want to see in my Leaders and made me question if I am really seeing them in my current leaders and representatives in Parliament (F.N.M. & P.L.P). Plus, I still don't understand why the Political parties in the Bahamas continue to play the game of statements in the press. I really think we need a Perry, Hubert, Cassius and whomever else to have a real debate ... a REAL question and answer debate from the public. I'm sick of statements in the paper and name calling and finger pointing.
I'm not talking about the entertaining arguments that is on the Parliamentary Channel either. We need to grow up because if we want a more mature and responsible society we must look within ourselves, as well as what we are doing to aid or hurt our country as well as carefully look at and inspect the qualities we have in our current reps. &/leaders.
We must decide on the qualities which we want, need and wish to see in our leaders. Yes we are a young nation, but we're not infants either, I'd say we're teenagers at the very least tweens. :-)
A Principled person is trustworthy."
"Honest & Ethical:
By choice or not, people will generally follow their leaders. If a leaders is honest and ethical, however, he will be respected, which is more important."
A disorganized teacher leader would be hard-pressed to handle all of her responsibilities inside and outside the classroom while holding a leadership position. Organized, though, does not mean that every paper is tucked neatly away in a manila folder or that a workstation is spotless. Being organized means having some kind of system in place, however foreign it may appear to others, to stay focused and on track, which facilitates being able to handle the myriad responsibilities necessary for teaching and leading."
Nowadays, too few people listen carefully to what others are saying, and too many ignore facial expressions, gestures and other clues. Being sensitive to people's needs and concerns is crucial. It is essential to be able to discern when your team is overwhelmed, when a meeting ceases to be productive and when your teachers need assistance or direction but are reluctant to ask for it.
Sensing what people need and when they need it is a key leadership quality. Successful leaders are able to read people. They mentally note people's reactions and remember certain situations, and they are able to connect the dots along the way. They perceive differences between what people say and what they do. They are observant, as they note the school politics, identify potential threats, and adjust accordingly so that their actions are not damaging. Trusting their instincts is another way that these leaders are effective: they know when to go with their gut. "
"Empathetic and Supportive:
People are more inclined to follow someone who understands what they are going through. It is not good enough for a leader to imagine what it is like to have a class of 35 freshmen; she needs to have had such a large group herself. This is why administrators who had only a brief tenure in the classroom or who never taught have a tough time leading: they are unable to convince their constituency that they have been there, done that. A lack of direct experience makes it difficult for them to provide viable and valuable suggestions to teachers, or for teachers to trust and act on recommendations they receive.
An empathetic and supportive leader assists others emotionally, socially and instructionally, and forges connections with them. Without being judgmental, she finds ways to help people recognize and learn from their mistakes. She is not intent on punishing people but instead on helping them."
Much as a mother feeds her children first when there is not enough to go around, those who put the needs of others ahead of their own have a solid understanding of what true leadership entails. The sacrifice may involve waiting until everyone else receives supplies or taking on an unappealing task. Leaders sacrifice their planning periods, their free time, and sometimes even their personal lives for the benefit of others. A leader understands that the health of the family depends on letting others eat before she does."
The concept of having and open-door policy has lost almost all it's cachet. Some profess it but don't practice it, whereas some preach it but make others feel awkward for taking advantage of it. We obviously should be accessible during contract hours. But because the nature of the job demands that we often take our work home, we should be accessible after hours as well. Of course limits must be set as needed."
Obstacles do not slow down a good leader; they are opportunities for him to flex his problem-solving muscles."
Being professional means putting aside personal prejudices for the good of the students. A fair leader hears all voices, does not play favorites (although she may have them), and is not self-serving."
Accepting people for who and what they are shows leadership. Although placing blame may make a leader feel more secure, it is better for the group if he accepts peoples flaws and shortcomings and learns how to work with them (or around them). Also, rather than passing the buck, accepting the blame for a problem demonstrates responsibility."
Leaders who own up to mistakes or share their errors with their colleagues, with an explanation of what they've learnt from the experience are valued. Leaders who admit mistakes show a willingness to grow. They are perceived as human, not as unapprochable academics in an ivory tower or arrogant know it alls."
Some people have a knack for anticipating what might happen next. Whether it is predicting the outcome of a meeting or a situation or analyzing political and educational trends, the ability to plan for what may be coming down the pike is a talent that not many possess. Conducting a parametric analysis (where education is, where it has been, and where it is headed) can put a team on the cutting edge. Leaders can save their group time and growing pains by suggesting change and giving choices rather than mandates, which are always less palatable."
Seeing the bigger picture is a skill that facilitates problem solving. A teacher leader is not always able to understand why decisions are made and how they affect the entire organizational structure, but she does comprehend the ramifications on her team."
"Decisive & Incisive:
Leadership demands an action-oriented, decisive person: those leaders who get things done are the most appreciated. They take the initiative and make things happen. Penetrating to the heart of an issue shows a keen and quick mind - and it can save time. In a profession where time is limited and people spend an inordinate about of time discussing, debating and deliberating issues, respect belongs to the person who, without making a rushed decision, can consider all angles and cut to the chase."
Intelligence as a key quality may sound obvious, but a leader I know was not respected because he lacked depth in his content knowledge. One teachers realized this, they ran academic circles around him to hide what was really going on in their classrooms and students used this to their advantage to help them get what they wanted.
Similarly teachers resent leaders who simply give an answer because they are expected to have one. Students can sense when adults fake their way through an explanation, but adults can be more perceptive and unforgiving. Even though it seems that anti-intellectualism is rampant in our society, educators value intelligence and crave an intelligent leader."
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