“In my experience, professionals who are best in any field approach their work with humility. They know that their work is more than just a job. It’s an exploration of life. Even on days when they feel most confident, things can go wrong. Sometimes even the good things that happen are a mystery – a surprise. There are always elements outside our control. That’s humbling – or should be.” (Tomlinson, 2011).
Core aspects of my leadership philosophy include:
Effort: As a teacher leader, I seek to always do my best, make sound decisions, and model ethical and just behavior. However, I also recognize that I am imperfect and that I am going to make mistakes. My philosophy of leadership is to never stop striving for improvement, no matter how much mastery I achieve. I am continually in the process of becoming the best leader I can be.
Growth Mindset: I am on a growth trajectory, and I understand that there will be ups and downs. Some days I might feel like I have a good grasp of what is going on, and other days, I might struggle to keep my head above water. Recognizing that success is not a straight upward path is something that I always try to keep in the forefront of my mind.
Goal Setting: I love how Tomlinson says that work is an “exploration of life”. I work not only to get a paycheck but to experience the joy that comes from spending time in a meaningful way. There is something very beautiful that transpires on days where I am absorbed in my work. I am focused on helping the school achieve its mission and goals, and I understand that, beyond the day-to-day stresses and activities, there is something bigger that I, and my colleagues, are trying to achieve.
Openmindedness: As an instructional leader, I think it’s important to accept challenges as they arise. I try to approach all situations with curiosity and an open mind. I don’t want to get stuck. I aim to be flexible. I strive to maintain perspective and a fresh outlook at all times, as I know that this is the key to creative problem-solving.
Humility: In the past, I have worked with people who got very defensive when they didn’t have the answer to a question. They would shut down and become very closed and negative. I think that leaders need to remember that it’s ok to not know everything, even though you are an authority figure in the room. It’s fine to admit to uncertainty and to say “I’m not sure about that, but let’s work together to figure it out.” This is where humility comes into play. Leaders who are humble are willing to collaborate with teachers and students to resolve issues and accomplish tasks.
Courage: Instructional leaders are people who have confidence, without ego. They are courageous, forward-thinking, and willing to make mistakes. My own guiding principle as a leader is to lead with integrity and purpose and to try my hardest every day to approach all experiences with a clear heart.