Leadership is a Feeling
Week 40 – December 18, 2020 – I know this is true
Here we are at Week 40 of the pandemic and this is about the same time it takes to have a baby. Yikes. I’m not having a baby, but a few of my friends are pregnant and having babies. This is one of the blessings of the crazy pandemic experience. Today is also the last day of school for K-12 schools, even though some had to close a bit early due to low staffing levels due to COVID-19. And, I just learned that one of my colleagues in K-12 schools was called today via contact tracing that she was in direct contact with someone with COVID-19 and she’s expecting. Honestly, I am very thankful that it is winter break for K-12 and teacher candidates have completed practicum (even though I am aware that at least one of the teacher candidates from our program was called this week). That said, the first vaccines for COVID-19 were first delivered this week in BC yet the numbers for COVID-19 in BC are going up.
I am super busy and my brain is super tired. I am still working. Friday is not the last day of work for me. Although my classes ended on December 4th and final assignments due December 11th, I am swamped with marking, report writing, and just getting the term complete. Oh ya, what about planning for next term and look ahead on the program. Sigh. It’s relentless sometimes and I am just about to give up. For the last week, I was basically brought to my knees and had to reflect on what’s important, what do I value, and where to next. I’ve been here before. There is a reason why I completed a degree in leadership. It’s not that I perceive myself as a leader, but I compelled to figure out what is leadership and what does it mean to be a leader. There is a difference between manager and leader. There is also a difference between micro manager and visionary. I still wonder about, what is leadership?
When you google LEADERSHIP, definitions vary from (1) the action of leading a group of people or an organization; to (2) the act or instance of leading; (3) the office or position of a leader; (4) the capacity to lead; to (5) the set of characteristics that make a good leader. What makes me curious about all of these definitions is, these definitions are all focused on “the leader.” What about what “the follower.” One of the biggest ideas that I have taken from my formal studies is the measure of a good leader is the number of leaders they leave behind. Another concept I took away about “good leadership” is always looking for people and grooming those to be better leaders than you. I love that idea. I feel that way about teacher education. After this week though, I think that LEADERSHIP IS A FEELING. How does the leader make the follower feel?
I’ve been thinking about LEARNING and FEELINGS. When I am teaching, how do I want my students to feel? This is a big idea that I have been wrestling with as a teacher practitioner. Cannot reprimand students for not understanding or learning, but also you cannot punish students or manipulate them to do what you want them to do. It does not leave the learner with good feelings. Moreover, they are left with the WRONG LEARNING. So how do you woo the learner to be engaged and see THE WHY embedded in what they are learning that extends beyond the letter grade, final exam, or major paper? Then, I am led to think more about efficacy, agency, and intrinsic motivation. Teachers are leaders. With this thinking, how does this translate to leadership in an organization? How do these leaders make people feel? If the feeling left behind is not good, are they actually leading? If not, then what are they doing?
I am left with more questions than answers but I will continue to ponder this idea of leadership. What does it mean to lead and how do you want people to feel?