What type of person would step off a solid platform, trusting a rope, to get down off a mountain, when walking would work just as well?
Learning, leading and guiding others through change involves similar risks, trying something new, and many unknowns.
We all have opportunities to lead others around us every day. In education, we spend 170+ days with students, we get to know them and earn many opportunities to influence their lives directly.
Some leaders want things to run smoothly. They want everything in order, no anomalies and people to all align. Other leaders want to gather folks already considered leaders, building on prior successes. Finally, John Maxwell identifies another smaller group, a few select leaders look to develop others into leaders by identifying their potential and putting them in front of opportunities to lead.
It is in this third group where we often find outliers. It is this group of people that think rules are meant for somebody else. Sometimes, these people are in trouble frequently and misunderstood by the crowd. It is also this group that rules are written to control or manage, even though they don't follow the rules. Recognizing this allows the leaders of leaders to begin to lead developing leaders. Recognizing there is a different set of self-governing parameters that guide these unique individuals is the first step for success. Seeing the world through their eyes and from their perspective leads us to acknowledge a totally different paradigm. (Outliers by Malcom Gladwell)
A classroom full of followers is a pleasant environment, seemingly calm and incident free. But the phrase “reluctantly compliant” comes to mind. Are these folks really interacting with the content? Do they really understand what is going on? Are they “sitting and getting?” Can they recite as well as extrapolate? What are their limits? Are our students reluctantly compliant or do they connect because of some intrinsic motivation? These questions are answered over time and by connecting with students as individuals and reaching into their lives, looking to help them reach their potential.
Education is a tough business. Helping others change works against our natural bent to maintain. Teachers instinctively look for the best in others, look for success where others have not found it, and intend on educational adventures in every setting.
Leadership expert John Maxwell mentions:
85% of the leaders attract followers
10% of the leaders attract other leaders
5% of all leaders reproduce other leaders
What kind of leader are we? Do we want to stretch others? Do we desire reluctant compliance? Do we want a challenge or the status-quo? What do we want from our students?