Time and intention are key in leadership development.
“Everything rises and falls on Leadership”.John C. Maxwell
The assumption is that Leadership is automatic, which gives birth to the question of whether leaders are born or made, as Myles Munroe in his book the Spirit of Leadership puts it, “There are many who confuse the position of Leadership with the disposition of true Leadership”. No matter what position one may be given, status in an organisation does not automatically create leadership. Genuine leadership is one’s internal disposition, which relates to a sense of purpose, self-worth, and self-concept.
I experienced this first hand when I was first introduced to transformational leadership when I first started out in my first job as a teacher.
I thought my primary role was to educate, little did I know that beyond the title, I had to function as a leader, I believe that leadership is critical to every environment. More especially if you interact with people.
The intentionality of leadership begins when one wants to make themselves better, by understanding their drives, impulses and how they respond and relate with others. This is a key component as every leader needs to be self aware and the beautiful thing about it is that it is a skill that can be learnt and developed with intention.
When a leader is not self aware they are automatically blinded to themselves and struggle with being congruent with those they lead.
Growing up both my parents were teachers, I dreaded teaching simply because I thought of having to stand in front of learners “kids” for the whole day and shout, well at least that’s the picture that had been painted to me, where a teacher was one who didn’t have control.
I was fresh out of school when I was afforded the opportunity to be a student teacher, this while I was pursuing my studies. It felt like an opportunity of growth for me, so I grabbed it with both hands.
The first class I was introduced to was the Grade 9, Life Orientation learners, little did I know I was being thrown into the deep end. They didn’t give me the time of day, I felt so misplaced as they made sure that they give me a “warm welcome” (pun intended), to the profession.
I remember going home asking myself whether I had made the right choice…
I then decided that I would seek to connect with the learners, this I did by learning and knowing their names as well as learning styles of learning.
I began to establish rapport with them.
I began to build trust and held them to a higher standard.
I would extend extra care and candour to those who were notorious for their bad behaviour.
For me this is where I was introduced to “Transformational Leadership” as I began to extend unconditional positive regard to each learner, I began to experience transformation.
The learners who were very laid back in their studies began engaging and asking questions in the class.
They began taking responsibility for their behaviour and all this began with an intentional effort to know each and every learner.
I believe that transformation takes place, when we begin to move beyond individuals names and begin to know people’s stories, when we extend ourselves to the betterment of the next person.
When individuals hold themselves to a higher standard than anyone else would hold them.