Learning to Lead
- Author: J. Christopher Watkins, Management Specialist
- Author: Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
Did you know that most leaders are made and not born that way? Don Clark states, “To inspire your workers into higher levels of teamwork, there are certain things you must be, know, and, do. These do not come naturally, but are acquired through continual work and study. Good leaders are continually working and studying to improve their leadership skills; they are NOT resting on their laurels.” (http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadcon.html).
Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership knowledge and skills. This is called Process Leadership (Jago, 1982). However, we know that we have traits that can influence our actions. This is called Trait Leadership (Jago, 1982), in that it was once common to believe that leaders were born rather than made. These two leadership types are shown in the chart below (Northouse, 2007, p5):
While leadership is learned, the skills and knowledge processed by the leader can be influenced by his or her attributes or traits, such as beliefs, values, ethics, and character. Knowledge and skills contribute directly to the process of leadership, while the other attributes give the leader certain characteristics that make him or her unique. (http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadcon.html)
Leadership is defined as a function of knowledge and skills which are observed, according to the Process Theory of Leadership Field Marshall William Slim set forth in his book, Defeat Into Victory, that leadership must be:
Spiritual: there must be a great and noble aim in which the team believes
Intellectual: the group must believe that the aim is attainable and that the leaders have earned the confidence of the team
Material: the team must have the tools for the job
In Head Start, we have an aim which is known as our mission statement and it usually includes information such as this from the Head Start Act: promote the school readiness of low-income children by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development. Leaders use the information and cognitive processes they possess to meet the goals established within the organization. Lastly, tools for the job means that people need regular development processes which are relevant at the time.
For that purpose, we have created a short annotated bibliography of web-based resources on Leadership.
Great Leadership (blog) - This blog has a range of topics and authors who provide insight into both management and leadership. http://www.greatleadershipbydan.com/
Education Week (website) - This site has a varied information for school administration with a special sections on leadership entitled Leaders to Learn From. http://www.edweek.org/ew/index.html
Entrepreneur Magazine (website) - This leadership section focuses on start-up organizations but has articles for managers and leaders of all types. Topics range from staying positive to handling emotional outbursts by staff. http://www.entrepreneur.com/management/leadership/index143970.html
Coaching Tip (blog) - This site claims to keep you abreast of what is effective in leadership. It has self-evaluation quizzes and varied effective coaching models. http://coachingtip.blogs.com/coaching_tip/
Tanveer Naseer (website) - From the website, “Tanveer Naseer is the Principal and Founder of Tanveer Naseer Leadership, a leadership coaching firm that works with managers and executives to help them develop leadership and team-building competencies to guide organizational growth and development, while ensuring they remain focused on what creates a fulfilling sense of purpose in what they do.” http://www.tanveernaseer.com/
For more leadership tips, join Chris Watkins for his one-hour Leadership in Head Start webinar on March 8, 2013.