What makes an effective leader? I’ve pondered this question hundreds of times. Is it courage, compassion, knowledge, earnestness, perhaps a combination of all the above? Leadership is defined by so many different traits that it’s hard to tell what an effective leader is. As educators, we are the leaders in our student’s lives. We set the tone and the standard for which they may eventually see the rest of the world. We have a lot of power. With that being said…
So why do people abuse their leadership power? This is on the back end of the question above because I’ve pondered why leaders who gain power never seem to respect it.
As evident by the quote above, I am a captain America fan. I’m also a watcher of the recent Disney+ show “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”. The show goes into more important details about the super-soldier serum that makes Steve Rogers into Captain America. The serum brings out the best qualities inside you while also bringing out your worst if you are corruptible.
This brings me back to the questions above, we as leaders must strive to create an environment where we instill values into goals we meet and encounter. Leaders must respect not just the man on top but also the man below. I never think of them in those designations. The way we view our power as leaders speak volumes about our mentality as people. This now brings me to the discussion.
Some of our most outstanding leaders in history were rallied upon not simply based on their ideals but by the emotional connotations they struct with their people—even the evilest of our leaders in history appeal to the emotions of their constituents. Leadership is an emotional process of regulating one’s Anxiety because of the fear we internally have as a person.
When I hear the term a self differentiated leader, I immediately think of a person who is in touch with them. Based on the examples of the video, a self differentiated leader is a person who has done the internal work. A self differentiated leader is a person who knows the platform on which they stand, and I willing to stand on that platform alone if needed. They know how to check themselves while also creating meaningful connections with the people under his charge. This type of leader is necessary to deal with the saboteur within the organization. People don’t intentionally mean to sabotage their Workplace. From my own experience, an ineffective leader creates a saboteur through their actions. What this means is, making sense of doubt. People will always have their opinions, but justifying them to activities is the downfall of any great leader.
Our job is to have crucial conversations with our stakeholders. When you’re in the business of changing lives, the stakes are always high, opinions will always vary, and emotions always run exceptionally strong. These conversations are crucial to getting things done and cannot be avoided. The crucial conversations book discusses numerous strategies for how to handle conversations. I think the first piece of any crucial conversation model should be to start with the heart. The heart of why answers the question of why we are doing what we are doing. This is one of the first lessons we learned in this program. The rest falls into place.
Lastly, differentiated leadership and crucial conversations are to ideologies that can go together. Whereas one focuses on the narrative of communicating your thoughts and ideas. The other focuses on the leader itself and what he or she can bring to the organization. Combining both can and will make you a better person and leader within your community organization.