What is Leadership?

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!

In the Beginning…

I have to confess that I have resisted becoming a blogger for some time.  In my narrow mind I equated blogging with keeping a diary, which I don’t and never have.  Boy, was I wrong.  The good news is “He can be taught!”

I am beginning this blog for two reasons.  The first is selfish.  I hope that by writing my thoughts and ideas here, I can somehow get a handle on them and my own thinking.  I warn you now, I am abstract/random off the scale!  My second reason is more noble, so to speak.  I have a sincere desire to make a difference.  I believe in our public school system with a passion, but I also have deep concerns as a parent and as an educator.  I hope this dialog will play a part the needed transformation of the US educational system.

I would be remiss if I did not give credit to Will Richardson, who I just met tonight.  I am sure he has already forgotten me, but he ended a very good lecture with a challenge.  Essentially, his challenge avoided the pie in the sky of changing the entire system over night. Rather, he challenged individuals to learn and grow.  This is my first step.  I am doing what I said I would never do (never say never), I am blogging!

~~Doug DeWitt