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Leadership Philosophy


I thought that leadership was defined by the situation, meaning that different ... 'One of my favorite myths about leadership is that anyone who has been a leader ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Leadership Philosophy

Leadership Philosophy
  • By Jill S. Boisvenue
  • EAD 867
  • Michigan State University
  • Summer 2006

The Beginning
  • At the start of this course, I thought of
    leadership only in the sense that a leader is a
    solo entity, the decision maker, and ultimately
    the person who is in charge. I have been
    accustomed to this way of thinking because this
    is what I have witnessed and is the way
    leadership is conducted within my school.
  • I thought that leadership was defined by the
    situation, meaning that different situations
    required different leadership.
  • I thought of a follower as one who does not have
    a goal or a focus and changes with the wind, so
    to speak. I did think of a follower as something
    I did not want to be for it is a weakness and a
    title with negative connotation.
  • I thought people who like to do things
    differently were attention getting and just
    enjoyed being different or causing problems.

What Happened Along the Way?
  • During this course I visited several areas of my
    thinking in terms of leadership. One of the
    first things that happened along the way was
    during one of our first requirements the
    posting about our favorite leadership myths. I
    confidently posted
  • One of my favorite myths about leadership is
    that anyone who has been a leader in a
    businesslike organization can be a leader in a
    school. I think that in order to be truly
    effective, a school leader must have had some
    classroom teaching experience. They must have
    been there, done that because if they have,
    they can relate to what teachers are
    experiencing. Therefore, the teachers these
    effective leaders are evaluating, supporting, and
    working with will have more respect for him or
    her and the decisions that are made.
  • I was convinced that my unfortunate experience
    with a principal who lacked teaching experience
    was a direct result of her lack of classroom
    teaching know-how. Then, a classmate and my
    professor challenged my way of thinking. At
    first, I thought they just dont know what it
    was like. However, having now revisited these
    postings, it is clear to me that these two women
    had far more insight regarding the situation than

What Happened Along the Way?
  • The next thing that happened took place during
    Part Two of the course. The required article
    The Secret of Great Groups by Warren Bennis
    was an article that I found myself revisiting
    throughout this term. It was my first exposure
    to the idea of collaborative leadership and it
    really made sense to me. As the article points
    out none of us is as smart as all of us, and
    the problems we face are too complex to be
    solved by any one person or any one discipline.
    As I mentioned before, my school operates under
    the old lone-ranger myth of the leadership. We
    have problems much like all elementary schools.
    Yet, our problems do not seem to get solved and
    keep resurfacing. Three heads are better than
    one, and fifteen heads are better still. Much
    like my suggestion for Big Mountain High School,
    I would suggest getting input from all of our
    fifteen teachers, and perhaps this collaboration
    could help to solve these reoccurring issues.
  • While the formation of a great group would
    probably have its challenges, it is evident from
    the article that the ten principles shared by
    such collaborations would far out weigh the
    potential hardships.

What Happened Along the Way?
  • At the start of the course, the Leadership
    Definitions activities allowed me to realize that
    being a follower is not negative it is
  • Initially I defined a follower as someone who
    does not have a goal or a focus and changes
    direction with the wind I had several
    classmates challenge my idea of followers, and I
    now realize that this is a very elementary way of
  • In addition to this, Leading with Soul forced me
    to reevaluate this way of thinking. According to
    our base text, The moral leaders need
    followers. The real drive comes from below
    (Bolman Deal 150). In essence, leaders need
    followers and without them there is no need for
    leaders. If the drive comes from below, the
    followers are in a sense, the motivation for
    leadership and a key necessity.

What Happened Along the Way?
  • Prior to my reading of Creative People by Max
    De Pree,I thought people who like to do things
    differently were attention getting and just
    enjoyed being different or causing problems.
    We have a teacher in my school who is always
    walking a fine line. She is always challenging
    ideas and testing the limits of our principal.
    She is often bold, and she can be a bit
    overbearing. However, she is one of the best
    teachers I have ever observed. The rapport she
    establishes with her students and their families
    is amazing. Her classroom always has a great
    sense of community, and her students always
    perform well on standardized testing.
  • While reading Creative People I instantly
    thought of this teacher. It was a great way for
    me to realize how important it is for a leader to
    make a personal commitment to be hospitable to
    creative people and a broader commitment to open
    himself to contributions from many quarters (De
    Pree 2001). I know that I have never thought of
    this teacher as a creative person, and I think
    that it is safe to say that my principal has not
    either. It is evident in the fact that she has
    not learned to live constructively with
    eccentricity (De Pree 2001).
  • Now that I have read and worked with this
    compelling article, I realize what an asset this
    teacher is to our building and to the students.
    Because of this realization, I would love to
    share this article with my principal, in hopes of
    giving her the insight and knowledge necessary to
    embrace this teachers creativity and uniqueness.

Where Am I Now?
  • I know that collaborative or group leadership is
    most effective.
  • I know that leadership is not unique to
    situations. A great leader is a great leader no
    matter where he or she works.
  • I know that followers are necessary in order for
    leadership to exist, and you cannot have one
    without the other. To me it is like chocolate
    chip cookies and milk. Chocolate chip cookies
    are good, but theyre even better with milk. And
    milk is not that great without chocolate chip
  • I know that creative people are important in any
    organization. While they are unique in many
    aspects, their uniqueness can prove to be heroic
    and making the effort to be a leader to creative
    people and learning to follow such people signal
    both real leadership competence(De Pree 2001).

As a Leader and a Follower
  • Because of my new ways of thinking, I will be a
    better leader and a better follower. I will be
    open-minded to new ideas and experiences. I will
    realize that my role as a leader is just as
    important as my role as a follower. I will, in
    all likelihood, be easier to lead and have an
    easier time being signifcant in the my follower
    roles. As a leader, I will ensure that the
    followers I am working with share my vision and
    share my goals. Communicating these ideas to the
    followers is not effective, but sharing these
    ideas with the followers is monumental.

What Do I Still Need to Accomplish?
  • Experience, experience, experience! I still feel
    like there is so much more for me to learn and
    experience in the area of leadership. While I do
    think I have made a lot of progress in this
    course, it seems like the more I know, the more I
    feel I need to know, if that makes any sense. As
    I learn about leadership, I realize that there is
    so much I do not know. It makes me eager to
    continue my leadership education and continue
    gaining experiences. Not only is leadership
    literature beneficial in my quest for knowledge
    and experience, but the experiences and knowledge
    I gain from my classmates and my professors is
    just as significant. I feel that this package is
    what I need in order to become the best leader I
    can become.
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