One characteristic of school life that all educators are trying to promote is school leadership – both among staff as well as students.
Leadership is the ability to influence others to accomplish a goal or complete a task, using a variety of methods. Leaders differ from bosses, in that they want to inspire their followers to want to achieve their goals, instead of bossing them around and ordering them to do it.
Leaders in a School Environment
In a school setting, there are many leaders.
The principal sets the example for the rest of the school. As a leader, the principal makes sure that the entire school knows what their collective goals are, and helps everyone reach them. A good principal will also empower other people to lead in various groups, causes, and organizations throughout the school.
Not only does a teacher inspire students to achieve learning goals, he or she also promotes growth through supervised extracurricular activities and encourages students to reach their goals and beyond. A teacher may also be a leader of a group of other teachers or a fundraiser to benefit their class or school.
Students can become leaders as well. They can be captains of their sports team, debate team leader, or the head of a social organization like yearbook or student union. Many students are leaders simply because others wish to emulate them. The responsibility of the school is to promote and encourage student leadership in the right areas.
So what does it take to be a good leader? To be a good leader you need to be:
- Self-aware and willing to continually improve
- Familiar with all the tasks that you're in charge of (or lessons in the case of the classroom)
- Willing to take responsibility for your actions – sometimes things go wrong and you can't afford to spend time dwelling on them
- A sound decision-maker
- Aware of who you're leading and look out for them
- Practicing effective communication methods so your team knows exactly their tasks and what goal they are trying to reach
- Setting a good example, all of the time
- Making sure that all tasks are thoroughly understood and accomplished the way they need to be
- Always acting and meeting as a team
- Utilizing all the talents of your team and the resources available to you
Becoming a Good Leader
No matter what role you play within a school, there's always an opportunity to become a leader.
The first step is to find something within your school that you believe isn't working as it should, and that you think you can help improve. Put your vision in writing and share it with the group of people that you want to lead (i.e. teachers, class, community group, peers).
Next you need to find the tools to resolve the problem that you have identified. In many cases, issues within a school environment need funding to resolve, so your first step is to raise funds to help your cause. You need to be actively involved in the process the entire way, whether this means washing cars or calling parents.
Share each small victory with your group and celebrate when you reach your goal. Don't stop there, because you never know what you'll achieve with good school leadership.
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