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Becoming a Leader, pages 157-159.

Part Two: Leadership Tactics, 1. Becoming a Leader, (pages 157-159)


A. How To Succeed As A New Leader

There are twelve fundamental rules to keep in mind as a leader. Here is an abbreviated version from the author: 1. Be humble, 2. Ask smart questions, 3. Listen, 4. Treat everyone with respect, 5. Take responsibility (think extreme ownership), 6. Pass credit onto others, 7. Work hard, 8. Have integrity, 9. Be balanced in decision making, 10. Be decisive, 11. Build relationships, 12. Get the job done. As a new leader, it can be hard to remember all of them. Review them in the morning, before meetings, before decisions, and before you go to bed is very helpful. Also, as a new leader, people will not expect you to know everything. However, you need to take the time to prepared as possible by at least learning terminology and knowing names and faces. “Being new is not an excuse for ignorance and lack of preparation.” Lastly, ask how things work and listen to your subordinates about their challenges. “Your interest in their job will increase their respect for you and will help you build a relationship with the troops, which is the goal of a leader.”

I have been on many interviews. Too many in my opinion. But that is a story for another day. A common question I am asked revolves around what are the characteristics of a good leader. I have been asked that question so often, I took the time to write down my answer so I would be consistent in my replies. Here is what I wrote:

The Most Essential Elements of an Outstanding Administrator/Leader.

I would like to start by differentiating between a supervisor and a leader. My opinion is that a supervisor focuses on the now whereas the leader focuses on the now and the future. One can be an effective supervisor and not be a successful leader. However, successful leaders are also successful supervisors. For a school district to be successful, leaders need to be present throughout the workforce.

I feel these are the six most important qualities of an effective leader.

1. Integrity – having a strong moral compass and now wavering from it.

2. Organized – a leader has many demands on their schedule, missing deadlines, meetings, etc. does not instill confidence.

3. Double vision – the ability to be focused on the tasks at hand but still be able to keep the larger picture in mind. That is, understanding how decisions made now will have systematic effects in the future.

4. Humble – successes are the result of the team while the leader takes responsibility for the failures.

5. Flexible yet stubborn – the skill of knowing that different situations require different solutions, but at the same time, always ensuring the solutions align to district vision/mission.

6. Emotional intelligence – the strength of relationships is built through ongoing meaningful conversations. Having the ability to connect with staff members is essential.

I am reassured by the fact that my list and the author's list do mirror one another. I feel the main attribute I do not address is that of extreme ownership. However, I developed my list before reading Extreme Ownership. I do believe I need to take another look at my list and add at least a seventh quality. You never know when I will be invited to another interview!

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© 2019 by Erik Bentzel. 

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