Leadership, as I have heard and read throughout have a significant amount of variations in the definition and the interpretation is highly subjective. During this course, the focus was on leadership and our own interpretation of the idea, the style we most associate with, investigation of leadership qualities, development of leadership skills, and many opportunities for reflection of what was ascertained. I have acquired a new-found respect for the mere interpretation of leadership, as I was not aware or simply oblivious to the spectrum of leadership. I am cognizant that leadership is a living, breathing, and transformative idea.
The leadership theories shed light on why people have such differing views of leadership. I found some of the theories to be barbaric, outdated, and dictorial. I believe my view and leadership style align with the contingency, situational, and relationship theories. I can see my leadership style arise and take shape in those theories. According to this theory, no leadership style is best in all situations. Success depends upon a number of variables, including the leadership style, qualities of the followers and aspects of the situation (Cherry, 2014). I completely agree with this theory as I believe leaders must be flexible in their craft. Different scenarios must lean-on different skills and experiences for the most accurate solution and guidance. Dealing with parents calls for a different type of leadership skill versus dealing with teachers, speaking from an administrative position. The two parties do impart some of the same necessities such as being valued and heard. When resolving conflict or issues with parents, I acknowledge that I have a more understanding approach and have the ability to sympathize with their needs. When dealing with teachers, at times my approach is more task oriented, to reach a common goal.
We have a brand new, first year math and science teacher this school year. This teacher needs an incredible amount of support. His support needs surpass the traditional amount of support given to teachers. He is having difficulty with his classroom management and lesson delivery. He is cautious to ask questions because he doesn’t want to seem as though he is struggling, however his struggle is evident in the classroom behavior and retention of material taught. I explained to him, I may be the Assistant Principal, but my goal is to support his needs and assure his success with his students. I offered to teach one of his classes and have him observe. He was delighted and couldn’t believe I would do this for him. I demonstrated to him how planning should be executed, modeled numerous instructional strategies, and presented classroom management procedures and techniques. He was extremely grateful. I explained to him, since I modeled and demonstrated for him, I will be looking for those things in his classroom. I send him emails regularly indicating items and tasks I would like to see and will give him immediate feedback.
A teacher recently shared with me concerns of a student in her class and asked that I sit in on the parent teacher conference. I asked her to give me some background on the student, it seemed the child was showing signs of autistic behavior. This was a delicate situation and had to be handled mildly, but to the point. I remembered one of the posts in the discussion board, where a teacher said she begins each conference by asking the parent to share a little bit about their child. I utilized this technique and the parent revealed the same concerns and actually had the same assumptions. This made the conversation relaxed and satisfied the needs of the teacher without offending the parent. I was thankful and happy that what I read in the discussion post was practical and relevant to the situation that I needed to resolve.
Being a leader, decision making must be confidently handled. The situational theory, I believe is incredibly important. Situations cannot be dealt with, with a cookie cutter attitude or approach. This theory always reminds me of a conference session I attended that discussed all issues or problems cannot be resolved with the same remedy. I feel like if a universal band-aid method is engaged it will lead to frustration on all parties involved in the decision-making process. In my opinion, this is necessary differentiation from a leadership perspective. Decisions must be reached and sometimes this is the tough part of being a leader, especially when difficult or challenging decisions must be made. I recognize this is something that I still need work on, I depend on my mentor/principal to help me make decisions. During my interview with her, she expressed to me, “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes”, when I asked her what other things can I personally work on to improve my leadership skills. This is difficult for me because I thoroughly think things through, sometimes overthink them because I don’t want to make the wrong decision.
Relationship theories, also known as transformational theories, focus upon the connections formed between leaders and followers. Transformational leaders motivate and inspire people by helping group members see the importance and higher good of the task. These leaders are focused on the performance of group members, but also want each person to fulfill his or her potential. Leaders with this style often have high ethical and moral standards (Cherry, 2014). I believe this leadership theory speaks volumes. This leadership style illustrates that it is not just about you, but developing others as well to achieve a common goal. My mentor has lead by example with this leadership style. It is so much easier to accomplish tasks when everyone is working together and “followers” feel you are in it with them. My principal has always said she doesn’t know everything, but surrounds herself with those who are experts in their own craft. I cannot agree with this more. Developing others is an important aspect of being a leader. I am the department lead of Math and Science at my school. I take time each week to meet individually with the math and science teachers of each grade level to discuss curriculum, instructional strategies, and data. I see the teachers really appreciate and look forward to meeting and discussing each week. They take their designated time with me seriously and don’t want any interruptions in “their” time. I also take this time seriously as it I believe it shows them, I value their thoughts and I desire to assist them as much as possible. At my school, the administrators have an open-door policy and I feel this has bonded the relationship between teacher and administrator and ultimately between teacher and student. Trust is the cornerstone of building relationships, especially when the scope is student achievement and morally sound environment.