Friday, July 28, 2017

Portfolio: Leading with a Plan: Are Leaders Born or Made?

I am taking the Teacher Leadership Part 1 AQ. Our culminating task involves creating a leadership portfolio by choosing items from each module of the course to share and reflecting on its contribution to my growth as a leader. I have chosen to share my portfolio as part of my blog.

This entry is from the module entitled Leading with a Plan where we looked at the importance of planning, learning preference and multiple intelligences, how to use data to inform classroom practice, leadership development opportunities, and debating whether a leader is born or made.

The assignment that I felt was most beneficial to me was our debate on whether a leader is born or made. For this assignment we had to do some research and form an argument for one of the sides of the debate. This forced me to think about leadership in a different light by having me reflect on what kind of environment a person needs to become an effective leader. I realized that it was because other people recognized what they believed were "natural" leadership skills and gave me opportunities to use them. I have never been one to decide for myself that I wanted to pursue particular opportunities - but I have obviously taken advantage of ones that were given to me. I plan to continue with the philosophy that I should seek to make myself a more effective educator, and if long the way I find suggestions to pursue other things then I will consider them. I just want to be the best me I can be.

Here is the argument that I formed for leaders being made, not born:

According to Forbes’ Tanya Prive, there are 10 qualities that make a great leader: Honesty, delegation, communication, confidence, commitment, positive attitude, creativity, intuition, inspiration, and approach.

While you may argue that honesty and positive attitude are more innate qualities I believe that they are actually developed over time as you are raised through your experiences. If you grow up with honest, positive role models than you are likely to take on those characteristics.

The ability to delegate, communicate, be creative, rely on your intuition and to take different approaches with different people are definitely things that are learned over time. These are things that usually require intentional practice and awareness/reflection to improve. Some people may seem to be better natural communicators, but we can learn to be better at it by practicing. Others may naturally tend toward a controlling manner, but can learn to rely on others (and therefore delegate work) as they become better at reading situations/people and balancing their own life. Relying on intuition comes with experiencing a variety of situations throughout a persons personal and professional life and can be enhanced by focusing on observational skills.

Confidence can be developed over time by mentor leaders. This requires you to be given opportunities in situations with other leaders who can help you recognize your strengths and who will give you opportunities to practice leading.

Finally, the ability to inspire comes from thoughtful planning – who will help you? What will be the focus? How does the investment help them? – and using your energy productively. My sister is a head coach of a college sports team and also a team captain for team Canada. She will also be the first person to admit that she is an introvert. Personality tests reveal fascinating things about her natural tendencies compared to her beliefs – when she is coaching or with Team Canada she goes to bed exhausted every night because she has learned to be an effective leader. Leadership did not come naturally to her.

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