Good teachers are always asking, “How do I know that it is working?” Isn’t that also an essential question for leaders?”
I have used the last few posts at Lead Quietly to draw links between the critical behaviors of a teacher to the critical behaviors of a good leader.
Here is the complete list of the critical teacher behaviors and the same behaviors applied to leadership:
Five Critical Behaviors of a Teacher
Five Critical Behaviors of a Leader
Teach to an objective
Lead to an objective. Have clarity in your mission.
SELECT an objective at the appropriate level of difficulty.
Put people in a position and role where they can succeed.Pursue clarity in roles.
MAINTAIN the focus of the learner on the learning.
MAINTAIN the focus on the follower.
USE without abuse the Principles of Learning (Active Participation, Motivation, Closure, Reinforcement)
USE without abuse the Principles of leadership (Active Participation, Motivation, Engagement, Trust)
MONITOR and adjust.
MONITOR and adjust.
Monitor and Adjust
An effective teacher will include a check for understanding as part of every lesson. Of course, a common check for understanding is a test. However all of us recognize that our favorite teachers were the ones who offered different approaches and creativity to different learning situations. These were likely teachers who were always monitoring, adjusting, continually tweaking their approach.
Just writing about this takes me back in time to my junior high science class where we could count on the same daily lecture, that amounted to nothing more than a recitation of the textbook without comment, feedback, dialog, and certainly no check for understanding. As delivered by this less than competent teacher, teaching was comprised of only lectures and tests. Don’t you think that seeing half of class asleep be cause for some adjustment????
Contrast this experience to these frequently cited words used by Dr. Madeline Hunter in her work, Enhancing Teaching:
A creative teacher is one who has first acquired the necessary skills to practice the science of instruction and who continues to refine and supplement those skills in such a way as to capitalize on his/her own personal strengths, those unique qualities of the learners, and the individual features of the teaching/learning environment in which students and teachers find themselves.
Monitor and Adjust in Leadership
Shouldn’t a good leader always be asking, “How do I know it is working?” Shouldn’t a good leader always be adjusting their approach to match the situation.
Let’s take the sentiment of the Enhancing Teaching quotation from above and give it a Lead Quietly bias:
An effective leader is one who constantly hones the necessary skills to practice the art of leadership and who continues to refine and supplement those skills in such a way as to capitalize on his/her own personal strengths, the unique qualities of others, and the individual features of the community and the situation in which the individuals find themselves.
When you review the changes that I made to the quotation, it highlights the following elements of leadership that have been cited previously on Lead Quietly:
Leaders should be constantly learning about leadership in order to adjust and grow. Remember, it’s all about learning.
There is no single best leadership style. What works best is going to vary because the strengths of the leaders and the qualities of others. A good leader can adapt as needed.
Leadership is about community and the skills of the community and the context of the situation are key variables. Different situations and communities call for different approaches.
Any leader who does not monitor and adjust will simply not be effective in the complexity of today’s environment.
Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly and don’t forget to monitor and adjust.