We all are leaders.
During my last grad school class, we continued to discuss the importance of building leadership in our classrooms and with our students. There are several different types of leadership that exist. Laissez faire which means that the leader displays a very relaxed type of leadership and allows people to make up their own decisions without much input. Authoritarian which means that the leader makes all the decisions and takes no input from others. Democratic in which people vote for important decisions and the leader makes decisions based on the voting results. Servant this is when the leader leads by serving others around them. Transformational leadership is a leader that leads by transforming the process and leading others to push them to exceed expectations and their individual limits. Transactional leadership is the notion that if you do something for the leader, you will get something in return.
I took these leadership styles and began thinking about my last hospital visit (don’t worry everything is fine). I began to look at the people around me and assess the different leadership traits they possessed. I know this sounds really dorky, but it was something that just popped into my (already overwhelmed) head. Most of the nurses and doctors displayed primarily a servant leadership style, always ending a conversation with “is there anything else you need?” One nurse, however, was more of a laissez faire type. With this nurse, it was hard to get results. This was somewhat frustrating, but after a little time she did an excellent job meeting our needs. One doctor took an authoritarian approach by making vital decisions and fast, thank God for that! If you've ever been in a hospital type setting, maybe you can relate? I’m very thankful to the medical staff that did a great job with this whole process.
It is our job as educators, and educational leaders, to promote these different types of leadership within our staff and/or students. To make the world work, we need a good mix of all these different types of leadership styles. If we can promote these different traits among all stakeholders, think of the things we can accomplish! I firmly believe that leadership is a trait that can and should be taught and encouraged by all. It is not concrete, it can change and develop over time with individuals.
I see myself as a situational leader. What I mean by this is that I have a little bit of all these traits (of course some may be more obvious than others). I need to use these different traits given the different situations that arise on a daily basis. What type of leader are you?
The main point I want to leave you with is that it is our responsibility as adults to promote a generation of leaders. We can’t make people take leadership stances, but we can teach them these skills and put the ball in their court.