Follow the leader…..

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how to ‘lead’. What it means to be a ‘leader’, or what is my ‘leadership style’. I’m toying with the idea of doing some ‘educational leadership papers’ or perhaps a masters. What could I do  to improve my performance as a leader, what expectations do people have of leaders and why on earth would I want a leadership position when all anyone I know in a leadership position seems to do with deal with issues all the time.  So what separates management and leadership?

My hubby (who does have his uses) put it like this

‘Leadership is leading people, management is managing things. So if you are managing people, you are treating them like things.’

He picked this up from some leadership courses he has attended in his role at his work. Which possibly is a whole other blog post on professional learning and leadership training in schools – he works in a commercial environment and has PD on this 2-3 times a year… I’ve had no ‘formal’ training other than a seminar or two at ulearn and what I have read and found online.

Leadership is a strange word and an almost unmeasurable quality. In New Zealand, we would (somewhat sadly……) think of sports people as leaders. Ritchie McCaw and Brendon McCullum are two current leaders in the sport world who have gained international respect for their roles leading the countries rugby and cricket teams. Casey Kopua might get a mention in the netball circles, or Lydia Ko for kicking arse at golf.

I then got to thinking about the difference between managing and leading. What do I want people to think about my leadership? Am I a leader at all….. How can I best fill my new role of ‘leading’ professional learning around IT for next year.

Searching it up didn’t help either… a range of quotes from the super to the strange, a variety of definitions, lots and lots of (and then loads more) papers I could take on educational leadership….. but really it lead to more questions than answers.


this quote for example – I really like it, but do I need knowledge to be a leader? Some for sure, but if I want to model that I am learning too, how much knowledge is too much? Communication though is a must, I have been very frustrated with lack of communication from multiple ‘leaders’ over the years.

A conversation with teachy friend I have enormous respect for (love your ways Nikkie) yielded these two clips



But I still don’t know what leadership is. I have a fairly good idea of what it isn’t – perhaps a little of the scientific method needs to be applied as I work my way through possibilities.

So as I continue to think about ‘leadership rolls’ for my future in teaching, I want to start putting more thought into how I can be a effective and communicative leader. I am really looking forward to the aspiring principals course next year (not that I want to be a principal….. but I do want some advice and ideas on leading change within a school) and I am sure it will stretch and mould my ideas around leadership and strategies.

But I also need to get off my butt and have a bit more confidence in myself… is it a kiwi thing to lack confidence and not want to be the tall poppy? Why do we so often mistake confidence for arrogance, or fear that other people will make that call. How can I make sure I am a ‘non threatening’ leader? Or to be effective, do you need a little bit of threatening in there too?

So I am taking my first reluctant baby steps into leadership. I find it strange that I have been willing to lead things so long as I hold no responsibility for them. Now the responsibility has come and I need to step up.

If only I knew what leadership was…….



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