It seems I’m always seeing something about the importance of leadership. Books, blogs, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, conferences, they all seem to have something to say about the importance of excellent leadership. And I love that, but sometimes, I stop and think, what does it really have to do with me? I’m just an educator, what does it have to do with being a leader?
When you look at the definition of what it means to lead, we see that it means to go before and show the way, to conduct by guiding, to influence, to cause, to guide in direction, course, action, opinion; to bring a person to a place. And then it starts to make sense because that definition sounds a whole lot like what it means to be an educator, doesn’t it?
The primary role of an educator is one of a leader – to guide, show the way, influence, provide direction, and bring a person to a place. We are there to empower students, inspire students, lead through change and share vision.
As an educator, our role is to GET THINGS DONE and to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN! In a school environment, our role is not to plan the direction the school is going, but to fulfill the direction laid out by the owners. We aren’t there to CHANGE the course set by the owners, but rather to manage and lead the accomplishment of the set goals.
Here are a few things we must do as educators to be great leaders.
Take Action! Just because it isn’t your role to set the direction, it doesn’t mean you remain silent and just “do your job.” You must work in partnership with the owners/managers to chart the course and be in ACTION.
View Problems as Opportunities: Leaders take the attitude of “how can we solve it”? “How can we improve performance?” They don’t simply shut down and say these students will never get it. Educators must see the possibilities before a student will be able to see them.
Set Priorities. Leaders ask every day, “What’s the best use of my time right now?” “What are my priorities today to meet the goals?” They don’t spend dollar time on penny jobs.
Are Customers Focused? Great educator leaders always remember that the student is the primary customer and are customer focused. 68% of customers leave a business due to employee (that’s us!) indifference. Great leaders focus on how can we be different and deliver WOW Customer Service.
Critical and Creative Thinkers. Leaders think of ways to solve, they don’t get stuck in the old ways of doing things. Use your critical and creative thinking skills and see what’s possible, versus “we’ve always done it this way.”
Positive Attitude Toward Change. Leaders keep moving forward even if they don’t know how. They take the attitude that I don’t know how right now, but I’m going to find out. Leaders recognize that change is necessary for growth.
What are you willing to change to become a great leader?
Lisha Barnes is a Cosmetology/Barber Instructor with over 25 years of experience. She started out in a small private school working in Admissions, Financial Aid, Education, and School Director. She was a Director of Education for a chain of Private Cosmetology schools. Currently she serves as the Academic Development Manager for Milady where she supports schools and educators around the nation with continuing education, curriculum development and product knowledge. Lisha has served as an Educator for Milady’s Career Institute; NACCAS Commission; Career Educators of America Committee Member; and has authored numerous writing projects for Milady. This industry experience allows her to see the industry from a variety of viewpoints, which helps in sharing information and ideas with educators all around the world.