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Understanding of successful leadership


“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn 

When we try to understand “who a successful leader is?“the stereotype that comes up is of someone who is charismatic, has a dominating personality, wields power, is a showman/woman, is very wise, a great speaker or is awe inspiring. However, none of these qualities is the essence of leadership. Leadership is the ability to achieve organizational goals by having a shared vision ,where every team member is able to align her or his personal goals with that of the organization. For this the leader needs to understand the needs and aspirations of her or his team members as well as have clarity about the Vision and Mission of the organization. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Successful Leadership is all about leading people to create successful, scalable, replicable, and thriving organizations. A good understanding of psychology and human behaviour is a key quality that will enable leaders to build an ecosystem that follows a Strengths Based Approach. In such an ecosystem people with diverse strengths work together to create resonance and at the same time acquire positive traits from others in a safe, conducive learning environment. Successful leaders understand that there is great diversity among people and human beings can be complex. Just like school teachers (who lead student learning) prepare personalized education plans for every student, a good leader identifies the competencies of each team member and charts out a personal and professional growth plan for them. Successful leaders invest in time that they spend with their teams. Such democratic leaders provide employees opportunities to learn and grow. 

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter Drucker

In a VUCA, RUPT world successful leaders are those who show resilience, are flexible and adaptable, are risk takers and problem solvers, collaborators who value creativity and innovation. They also have strong networking skills, are empathetic, inclusive, and ethical. They are secure about their positions and are constantly seeking out people with leadership potential and expose them to career experiences designed to develop that potential. In such organizations leadership is decentralized and distributed. Employees show very high levels of ownership and belongingness. 

Successful Leaders lead by example. They possess high levels of integrity and do not compromise on their values. With their strong communication skills, they inspire and teams to succeed, by building trust and positivity even in the most difficult of times. They believe in listening to the voices of all stakeholders and therefore seek feedback, analyse it and work on improving themselves and the organization continuously. They are self- aware and can maintain an objective perspective when faced with challenges. They are good mentors and nurture the growth of their team members. They are open minded and have a lifelong learner mindset. 

Leadership in schools is not confined to the Management or the Principal. Schools that are known for Effective Educational Leadership have educators who are highly proficient, students who are engaged, have a voice and are involved in their learning and parents who are participative in all school activities. The UN SDG4 emphasizes on the need to strengthen leadership in schools to improve teaching and learning. 

Teachers are both transformational leaders and Instructional leaders. Students well being and learning is core to their success as educators. They are relentless in their pursuit of meaningful growth and attainment of measurable learning outcomes. Such school leaders promote Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belongingness in schools thereby creating an empathetic and just community. Such leaders create a culture ownership.  

Teacher Leadership is often not positional. Inspite of this, their belief that each child is special makes their position as leaders unique. In my three decades as a teacher I have seen exceptional teachers who are all Agents of Change. They very knowledgeable, creative, exceptional communicators , forever youthful, trust worthy adults, loving friends, inspirational teachers, dreamers and above all magnetic personalities. They have transformed thousands of children in their careers with a magic wand called LOVE. 

“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult.” – Warren Bennis

The Guru

Written by Team Cambridge


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  1. What a beautiful article about leadership and the best part was management shows us the way and leaders show the right way.I believe they are transformers and by their skills like empathy, kindness,good communication they transform lives and impart mindful learning and team work.

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School Leaders and Teachers Complement Each Other To Pave the Way for Sound Education