I believe that all teachers are leaders. The mere act of teaching, in and of itself, is an act of leadership. Within the hierarchical structure of most schools and districts, I also know that some/many/most teachers do not self-identify as leaders unless they hold a formal position or title (e.g., team leader, department chair, etc.).
In an online post in Success, entitled “Lead from where you are,” John Maxwell explores leadership in organizations:
“You can lead others from anywhere in the organization, and when you do, you make the organization better. The bottom line is this: Leadership is a choice you make, not a place you sit. Anyone can choose to become a leader wherever he or she is. You can make a difference no matter where you are.”
Along the same theme (“How to Lead from Where You Are“), Christina Folz, writing for SHRM, offers some advice on how to do it:
- Let failure fuel you (success rises from the ashes of failure)
- Embrace who are, and lead from there (leverage your strengths)
- Think differently – and find partners differently (look for those least like you)
- Take the first step (just do it!)
What might that look like for a teacher? Rebecca Vukovic offers some thoughts around informal teacher leadership:
“My view is that there are many teachers who engage in leadership work which either they or others may not necessarily recognise as leadership. Informal leadership by teachers is harder to distinguish because of its close connection to teachers acting professionally and continuing to deepen their understandings of what it takes to help students to learn. This type of leadership emerges when teachers see interactions with colleagues as opportunities to make sense of practice accepting a mutual exchange of insights, with each moving between leading and learning according to their expertise. In this way, learning to improve teaching is the impetus for leadership.”
Along those same lines (leadership evident in the work), here are some additional possibilities:
I love the last bullet: “advocate for student learning and the profession.” The teachers I work with do this every day! And while they may not yet see themselves as leaders, we could not succeed without their leadership.
Join the conversation…how do you lead from where you are?