To be honest, I’ve never really thought too much about leadership role models until this month as I’ve been trying to compose my thoughts for my Leadership Project. In my Week 2 Reading post, I wrote about the videos Steve Jobs: Secrets of Life and Steve Jobs on Failure. He’s obviously a leader that I respect and admire. I love that he was never afraid to be different and that he embraced failure as an opportunity to thrive and grow. For him to get pushed out of Apple, only to come back more than 10 years later to not only save it from failing, but completely turn it around, truly takes a great innovator and leader. Even though he’s passed, he made such a huge impact on this world that his legacy will live on forever.
I’ve learned about the leadership style of Steve Jobs through my husband Shaun’s experience working at Apple. Before he worked for Apple, Shaun was the kind of person who liked to do exactly what he needed to get by, then leave work at the exact time that his hours were over. I can tell that my husband’s work ethic and outlook on life has changed ever since he was fortunate enough to work under Steve Job’s leadership. Shaun tells me that he’s been taught to complete his tasks and do his job to the best of his ability, rather than spread himself too thin by getting caught up in extra tasks and projects. It’s better to do one thing really well, rather than do a mediocre job at many.
When he told me that, it made me understand why teachers get burnt out so quickly and don’t always have a positive attitude about the profession. What if teachers had one important job to focus on and there was money to hire others to help out with the many other tasks in a school? Teachers could educate students by focusing all of their time and energy into creating the most successful and engaging lessons while others could grade papers, plan school events, schedule assemblies and field trips, and help with prep work. That would definitely lighten the workload for teachers, but would it motivate them to work to the best of their ability? It may help for some teachers, but if they are not self motivated, then it might take some extra incentive for professional development to encourage teachers and give them the proper tools for improving student engagement.
Even though teachers at my school are overwhelmed with too many tasks, I do appreciate the leadership of my current principal who seeks out the different skills and talents of each individual teacher and finds ways to put them to use. She doesn’t rely on one teacher to do all of the extra work and she give opportunities for each staff member to shine. She also shows her appreciation through recognition at staff meetings and is always willing to cook and bake goodies that she leaves for us in the staff lounge several times throughout the school year.
I’m the type of leader who likes to lead by example. In my classroom, I find that my students produce better work when I take the time to show them examples of good, quality work. When I did my LiveBInder training, I not only made quality examples, but I also found several examples from other teachers to show what others have created. As I try and take on more leadership positions, I should keep my leadership role models in mind, searching for the best qualities in others and putting their talents to use by empowering them to step up and become leaders in their expertise.