It seems to me that a good opening discussion revolves around defining leadership. There are many differing definitions, some of them good and some of them, well, you get the picture.
For me, the best definition of leadership comes from John C. Maxwell. In his best selling book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (1998) he writes that “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” In the updated version (2008) he has revised it to read “The essence of leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” In either case, the important factor is leadership as influence. In both editions of the book, Maxwell provides excellent examples of leadership as influence.
So what does this mean in the area of educational leadership? First, it means that school leaders must acquire the art (and yes, I believe is is an art) of influence. Please understand that I do not believe that influence and coercion to be synonyms. Influence is not bullying people to see things and do things your way. Influence is communicating vision and passion to a point where it is contagious and people buy in and work together for a common good.
Tomorrow’s schools need leaders! More on that later!