In my initial blog post I referred a lot to the idea that a good leader needs to be supportive and also inspirational. I also touch on Huggins (2017) idea that leaders need to have a high-tolerance for risk (p.10). After taking this course I’ve learned a few things. First of all, a leader must be organized and attentive to detail. Creating change in an organization requires more than just being charismatic or intelligent. You also need to be a natural manager, communicator, and problem-solver. Another important aspect is trust. A good leader cannot change anything by themselves, they must trust their supporters or their change initiators to carry out certain activities in order to successfully create change. The fact that only 30% of change initiatives are successful (Alhaddad et al. 2015) means that our current culture doesn’t understand what effective leadership looks like or how to do it. An effective leader knows how to lead change. They are able to identify the need for a change, they are able to predict and overcome barriers and finally, they can maintain the change. I think I understand now that being a good leader doesn’t necessarily boil down to specific characteristics but instead is more related to the actions the person systematically undertakes in order to achieve the desired outcome. What I mean to say is, perhaps a highly-intelligent, yet not so trustworthy leader could accomplish the same outcome that a not-so-intelligent but honest leader could. Providing they both systematically undertake the same steps to get their organization to where they want it to be, they both could have the same results. A good leader knows how to plan, how to react, how to overcome, and most importantly, how to learn. Cormier (2017) says it best in his blog when he asks, “ Can you make a plan? Do you know what to do when it fails? Can you deal with the disappointment? Can you ask for help? Have you learned anything in the process? Is your planning getting better? Did you find your answers quicker? Better?” At the end of this course I realize it’s not about who you are as a leader but what you do.
As I stated at the beginning of this course, I am a nomadic digital English teacher. My leadership position is fairly minimal in a huge, faceless, Chinese company that really offers little to initiate change. I guess the only ones who I successfully lead are small children: my own and my students. I’m hoping to expand my horizons in the future and hopefully I will be given an opportunity to apply all the juicy information I absorbed in this course. Until then, I can only apply the concepts to other areas of my life. This course has really helped me grasp the nuances of initiating a change in general. Whether it be building a house, creating a company, or stamping out some bad behaviors in my family, I need to plan, identify possible barriers, check-progress, react to problems that arise, and continue to check on the results after the change has been initiated. With these steps in mind, I can probably initiate a successful change in any area of my life. It’s been a pleasure to work with you all and I wish you all the best on your future endeavors.
Huggins, K. (2017). Developing Leadership Capacity in Others: An Examination of High School Principals’ Personal Capacities for Fostering Leadership. International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 12(1).
Cormier, D. (2017, December 8). Our schools aren’t broken, they’re hard. [Blog post].