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Intentional? Leadership

leadershipYesterday I sat in a day-long conference for the clinical teachers (cooperating teachers who supervise student interns) from East Carolina University. The keynote speaker talked about the need for teacher-leaders. Of course we need teacher-leaders. But more importantly, in the words of a former principal, what does that look like?

What is a teacher-leader? Is that different from a leader in other capacities? I think maybe it is. To me, a teacher-leader is a person whose sphere of influence reaches the greatest distances. This person reaches their students, their students’ families, the communities in which they teach and live, the personnel in their school buildings and the teachers in their districts and states. Not only do teacher-leaders influence people, but they also teach others how to have the same sort of influence. Leadership by teachers is what will help to revive our schools and make them great. Students who are taught by those who understand their roles in the leadership continuum will benefit more than any others.

But, here’s my real issue. Does leadership have to be intentional? I threw that question out to my Twitter PLN. Here’s what they had to say…

john__ In my mind the word “intentional” is only one in the bucket of passionate

vedo I don’t think so. You may not know what you do that leads someone to action or behavior change.

jackiegerstein “Leadership is the wise use of power. Power is the capacity to translate intention into reality and sustain it.” Warren Bennis

adamhoughtonnh: Great question. I am not sure, but I am quite sure it cannot be accidental. To give the appearance of it being effortless.

bethanyvsmith I think some of the best leaders don’t intend to lead people at all, they just do.

sjciske: Good questions but answers may be dependent on the state of those being led – different orgs have diff ldrshp needs

chollingsworth: best kinds of leadership are intentional, but yes, ppl can be leaders w/out asking to be. Depends on amt of influence they carry

chollingsworth: IMO intentional leadership is done with purpose, conviction, thought, planning. Just like intentional living,

mattguthrieLeadership is intentional AND doing what is right is noble – the impact is always greater than the intention

So, what do you think? I think this is something worth exploring in depth. I have to wonder if true leaders develop because they want to or because they have to! Most people I admire as leaders have found themselves in their position as an unintentional by-product of their passionate approach to life. When I think of those who I see as leaders in education today, I think of classroom teachers who have taken their love of students, teaching and learning to new heights. I am quite sure that these individuals didn’t sit around their dining room tables and plot their courses to world domination. Instead, these people took the issues about which they were most passionate and did whatever it took (and continues to take) to keep them at the forefront.

So, does leadership have to be intentional? Or is true leadership born of passion and then it grows from necessity? What are your thoughts?

PHOTO CREDIT: thegoldguys.blogspot.com/ or www.lumaxart.com/


6 Responses

  1. Great post! I do believe that their must be a certain level of intention in what a person is doing no matter what. It is a persons vision and passion that helps influence thier intentions. This may not necessarily make a person an intentional leader, but it can definitely lead to intentional followers.

    In my view of what makes a leader, I fall back to a quote I have heard time and time again. “Managers do things right… Leaders do the right things.” This quote says that all leadership is Intentional Leadership.

  2. These are intriguing questions. I like what Warren Bennis says in his book Becoming A Leader…

    ‘No leader sets out to be a leader. People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves fully. When that expression is of value, they become leaders. So the point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely – all your skills, gifts, energies – in order to make your vision manifest. You must withhold nothing. You must, in sum, become the person you started out to be, and to enjoy the process of becoming.’

  3. We are studying A Leader’s Legacy. http://tinyurl.com/cxjoec Fascinating quick read – though every chapter resonates with what we (25 teachers and administrators) know to be true. We are meeting for 35 minutes before school on Tuesday mornings for discussion. The second chapter is entitled The Best Leader’s are Teachers, which speaks a bit to what you mentioned about the broad scope of influence that teachers have. It also drives home the point made earlier about the fact that leader’s do the right things. Honesty and integrity, the quality of relationships, passion and vision all go into it. I feel lucky to work for an inspired principal who facilitates this type of study!!

  4. Thanks for this Page it’s important to find all i want

  5. […] taken from Keeping kids first, RealityRN and Leadership Skills […]

  6. Some really helpful information in there. Be sure to keep writing more great articles like this one.

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