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Effective leadership occurs when individuals exercise influence to provide others with direction toward a mutually shared goal or vision. On a daily basis, educational leaders must oversee their school, staff, and students through the challenges presented by our ever-changing world. Leaders are constantly being pulled in different directions while they must continue to lead effectively by engaging others to envision the future, create and manage a positive climate, and empower others to share ideas so as to make significant contributions for the betterment of the larger community.
Creating a shared vision of success acts as a major pillar in my personal beliefs, ideas regarding the philosophy of leadership, and the ELCC Standards. When guiding and leading a school towards a shared vision, a leader must be able to build trust and engage others to work collaboratively on the articulation of the vision itself. “School legitimacy and effectiveness are enhanced when both internal members and the broader community share clear understandings about students, learning, and schooling”. Developing a vision in a vacuum and forcibly mandating it as law can create feelings of mistrust and skepticism, leading to the eventual failure of the vision. Creating plans for the future with others, promotes a sense of shared responsibility and ownership of the vision. “Exemplary leaders don’t impose their visions of the future on people; they liberate the vision that’s already stirring in their constituents”. As a leader, I have always looked to create a shared vision by closely listening to the desires of others so as to effectively lead while simultaneously building a stronger group culture.
Developing a favorable climate is being able to foster an environment where individuals feel well respected, held in high regard, and appreciated for their success and achievements. As a leader, it is crucial to establish a positive culture in order to avoid the negative backlash of toxic thinking and behaviors. “Even good schools often harbor toxic subcultures, oppositional groups of staff or parents who want to spread a sense of frustration, anomie, and hopelessness”. Effective school leaders promote a positive environment in order to pave the way for effective teaching, learning, and genuine communication, both within and out of school. “As positivity flows through people, they see more options and become more innovative”. Strong and passionate leaders are the key to eliminating toxicity and maintaining positive culture. School leaders can establish underlying norms of collegiality, improvement, and hard work, celebrate student and staff achievement, and create a shared sense of purpose to accomplish creating a positive culture. A Leader has the power to shape culture through their words, actions, behaviors, and accomplishments.
In addition to creating a shared vision and building a positive school climate, my democratic leadership style incorporates empowering others to share ideas and make decisions for the improvement of the larger group. Creating an environment that allows everyone an equal opportunity to share and be heard, when possible, increases self-confidence of those within your organization and inspires the type of culture that is more committed to achieving the best results possible. “Research supports the assumption that teacher empowerment relates to greater organizational effectiveness”. When ownership and accountability is shared amongst an organization, not solely placed on an individual leader, you can expect to see more meaningful and effective work. “Any leadership practice that increases others’ sense of self-determination, self confidence, and personal effectiveness makes them more powerful and greatly enhances the possibility of their success” . I believe that by empowering others and giving everyone the potential to present ideas freely, you increase the organization’s overall effectiveness and rate of future success.
In conclusion, while I have successfully incorporated a handful of the approaches into my leadership style, continual practice and research is needed to further developing my leadership philosophy as I continue to grow and gain more experiences. Engaging others to envision the future, create and manage a positive climate, and empower others to share ideas lay the groundwork for the foundation of my personal styles and strengths.
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