Last week I had a discussion with a friend who works as an Elementary classroom teacher in New Zealand. We were talking about my current role and what it involved. As part of the discussion, we talked about my transition from a classroom teacher in New Zealand, my journey to Singapore and into leadership. My friend asked me a question that really sparked my interest (and this blog post). They asked me, “As a leader in your school, how do you find time to learn when you are always leading others?”. Here is my response in blog form:
In life, perception is the reality. The way people perceive you is the reality to them so always being aware of how you are perceived is a critical element to any leaders toolkit. A standard perception of leaders is that they do not partake in professional learning opportunities, they just deliver them. In my opinion, if leaders are doing this, they are simply doing it wrong!
Learning is one of my biggest strengths as a leader – I crave it. I see myself as a true lifelong learner. I am globally connected and seek out self-learning every day. Twitter is my main learning space and I use my established PLN across multiple social networks to not only support my only learning but also to share out my thoughts with the intention that others may find it useful and helpful as part of their learning journey as well.
As a leader, I not only want to learn to be better at my job, but I want to be the best possible role-model to other staff. Being an active, visible learner models to others how to lead and learn. In leadership, it is important to me to improve so that I can support others in better ways and help people grow.
As a leader, I ask questions because I want to learn, not because I am being difficult. I strategically question people to get more information and to dig deeper so that both of our learning experiences are improved. I want to make people think about WHY they are learning and how it impacts student learning (this should always be evident in our learning as educators).
As a leader, I expect my team to be on the job (and off the job) learners so I have to be too.
As a leader, I have developed a space for others in my organization to share their learning (both internally and globally) as well. We use tools like Twitter and our school hashtag (#SAISrocks) to share our learning journey and to be visible learners.
In conclusion, this blog post was inspired by a simple question. A question that was targetted from my friend’s experience and knowledge of what a leader means to them. The key point here is that a leader must lead in different ways in different situations, using a variety of strategies and tools. But one thing that does not change is that they should always be learning and growing.
As a leader, how do you grow? Please share – as a leader – I want to learn from you too!