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Organizational Leadership

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November 2011

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I’ve often written about leadership as it’s an area of interest for me, and something about which I’m passionate.  I’m even going to make the claim that I’ve always been a leader.  While I was somewhat shy as a child, I could organize my group of friends at recess like nobody’s business.  I lived in the country without many neighbors, but the two (younger, ahem) neighbor girls that I played with always heeded my direction.  Okay, so they didn’t have much choice, but it worked for me, nevertheless.  As I entered adolescence, and then young adulthood, those leadership skills were somewhat dormant as I battled  teenage angst and all that goes with it.  Later, they reemerged as a classroom teacher, and then continued to strengthen and grow when I became a curriculum director.  It was during this stint as an administrator, that I really began to study and analyze leadership styles.  I also began graduate work in school administration during this time, and the program I studied under was built around servant leadership.  Now, in my first year as an entrepreneur, I’m learning more about organizational leadership as a whole, and not just as it relates to school systems.

Every organization consists of stakeholders in various roles.  And every organization has a hierarchy of sorts.  I would argue a very simple point that the better the leadership, the better the organization as a whole.  I’ve had the pleasure of working for, and with, fantastic leaders.  Like most people, I have also worked for/with mediocre and poor leaders (though I wouldn’t use that term to define their roles).  An organization can appear to flourish even under poor management if the people under them are stellar individuals.  The breakdown occurs more quickly when the poor leader holds strings too tightly (micromanager, bullier, power-monger), or if they are left unchecked by the governing board.  I have actually talked to members of a school board who act as though the superintendent is their boss, rather than the other way around.  That mindset baffles me, but knowing the superintendent (who would fit any of the titles in the previous parentheses), I can understand how they are a bit blind to their position in the hierarchy.

There are definitely different leadership styles, and different groups benefit from different types of leadership.  I’ve written about top characteristics in any leadership style, so won’t break that down today.  I would define myself as a servant leader with characteristics from the Transformational and Innovative Leadership styles.  Feel free to Google those terms (a good reminder for anyone in a leadership position).  Good leaders are also continually growing in their roles and abilities.

This is what it boils down to: The key to an effective organization lies in effective leadership.  This is rooted in excellent communication, mutual support of a shared vision, and courage to make right choices all day long.

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