What is a leader?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
There are many people who are leaders, some are good, some are not. I think all leaders have one trait in common – confidence. It is not a trait I readily apply as I am sometimes very shy, especially in new situations. I prefer to sit back and observe people first but I find when working in groups there is always one person who wants to be the boss, wants to take control. This is what I have observed about leaders so far. A leader is somebody who can get people to do things, to apply to their wants and desires.
A good leader:
  • gets the best out of people.
  • is somebody who can create a harmonious interaction where people feel that they can voice their opinions/ideas without worry of being ridiculed.
  • encourages new ideas
  • encourages more efficient methods of doing things
  • ensures people are trained to the best of their capabilities
  • listens to others
  • Provides sincere, specific praise
  • thanks people in the team for their effort
  • is able to make decisions and takes accountability of the decisions.
  • are polite
A bad leader:
  • is sarcastic and belittling
  • gets work done through fear/threats
  • doesn’t listen to ideas – cuts people off, talks over the top of them
  • uses other people’s ideas as their own
  • doesn’t praise effort/work
  • blames other people if things don’t work out
 In my last appointment as a relieving teacher librarian (TL) I was definitely not a leader – very few people communicated with me about the library, I was not invited to any strategic planning meetings (such as literacy) and had very little influence. I think this was affected by ‘being an outsider’ – not known at that school before or knew any of the teachers, temporary appointment and past perceptions of the TL’s role and importance. I did find that towards the end of the year as I developed deeper relationships staff began to use the library more by requesting resources, however, by then my appointment was finishing. I think if I was permanent I could have built on these relationships more and encouraged greater use of the library and the TL.  I am hoping through this course I will become more confident in leadership and be able to apply leadership skills more readily.
How do you feel about your leadership skills?

2 Replies to “What is a leader?”

  1. Hi Marika,
    Thanks for the comment, it got me thinking deeper. I suppose overall leaders posses both good and bad leadership qualities, however, which qualities they possess the most of will determine if they are viewed as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ leader.
    I liked the Lao Tzu quote on leadership ‘A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves’. I think this reflects well on the leader working as part of the team. Would this be leading from the middle?

    Lao Tzu. (n.d). Lao Tzu quotes [webpage]. Retrieved from https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/lao_tzu_121709.

  2. I found it interesting that you commented on both good and bad leadership. In one of the “readings” for the subject in module 2.2, Alma Harris (AITSL, 2016) mentions that leadership has a dark side (i.e. that there can be bad leadership) but that this is not often addressed in the literature. I love that you are looking at the balance from the outset.
    AITSL. (2016, April 20). Professor Alma Harris, distributed leadership [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/biPC_IJyiHo

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