I recently came across this article (via @gcouros) on the 5 Characteristics of a Leader. First thing I did, as a netizen, was to scan the thing and look for the important parts. I’ll save you the trouble:
- The ability to communicate;
- Being Responsible;
- Have passion.
So then I asked myself, Am I a leader? Do I have these traits? But let’s take these arguably “safe” traits of leadership from a different angle. Are we saying goodbye this week to students in our schools (or classes) who:
- Have a strong ability to communicate? How are they at public speaking? Creating compelling media? Writing? Emoting through music, art, and dance? Finding their own “internal” voice?
- Practicing skills for consistency. Are our students able to do things consistently? It’s a real skill. I know from my years of music lessons that to be able to play passages consistently took real practice.
- Demonstrate responsibility? I mean this in two ways: responsible in their own actions (good behavior), but also on a more global scale… they look out for others, exhibit an understanding of their place in their community and their world?
- Are confident learners? This one might be hard for some – it means they like learning – they are confident about what they know, but more so about a confidence in figuring out what they want to know and having at least some success with that.
- Demonstrate a passion, or at the least, some curiosity? This one can require a lot of support from outside of school to be automatic. But if we know the kids we have, we ought to be able to figure out some of the things that get them motivated. The key here is their own ability to channel their motivation in positive, automatic ways. Identifying your passions comes first, but this can be a long process. It requires the openness and freedom to explore, discover, and question assumptions about how things work. And then we have to have the opportunities for that curiosity to develop into a passion. And while noble, this shouldn’t be our end-result. As Hurford writes: “Passion fuels drive, drive gets things done, and people respect those who can accomplish whatever task it put in front of them.”
The development of leadership is important for everyone, including our students.