Saturday, September 30, 2006

The leaders we choose...

Who are your "leaders?" I'm not talking about your building administrator, your superintendent, your department chairman, your team leader - I'm talking about others around you on whom you rely for information, advice, assistance...

I had two separate experiences with this during the past week. As I think back over events, I'm wondering how the "leader" you choose to pay attention to has an impact on your own growth and independent thinking.

In one instance, a person has taken the responsibility independent of his/her position in a school building to be a leader and advisor and to encourage others to be dependent on him/her but doesn't have enough information him/herself to be reliable, accurate or really even helpful to those who depend on that person - and, hasn't asked the questions that are needed to gather the accurate information that others are looking for. (sorry, that's a mouthful...) So, why do people rely on or listen to this person? Is it because we have something in our nature that wants to believe whatever we hear first for lack of any other information? Or is it that we just don't have the time or inclination to look for any other sources of information? Are we following the person with the loudest voice? How does relying on this type of "leader" impact on you and others around you? What encourages others to follow this person?

In another instance, a person has taken on the responsibility to be a leader but is armed with a wide variety of knowledge, background and experience in the very subject for which he/she is leading. Some people will choose to say that's not for them, I can't embrace those ideas whether they're based in knowledge and experience or not. What is it about this second person that encourages some to follow and others to choose another path?

As a reader of this, you may have no idea what I'm talking about and that's okay. I'm really just writing this to work through some of my thinking. I'm not comfortable writing specific details of the positions that these two people hold. I'm just trying to deal with the idea of how we know when to trust someone as a leader. Even those who appear to have accurate information may not but if they're the only or the loudest voice in the room - who would you believe?

How does one, armed with knowledge, background and experience, become a trusted leader amid the louder voices out there?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We choose different leaders to take us to different places. But first we must know where we want to go or leaders will take us where they want to go. When you decide to be a follower, and everyone is, you have to have confidence and faith in, not only your leader, but yourself too. Confidence and faith that if you are being lead the wrong way, you'll be able to readjust your course.

I'm curious about the characteristics of "know nothings" and their affect on people, just like you are. I wonder if it has something to do with emotional needs and connections. If a person was raised surrounded by "know nothings" are they inherently going to be more comfortable with more "know nothings"? Don't "know nothings" attract the kind of people that support their "know nothingness"? How else could "know nothings" continue to believe they know everything.

I've learned that I want leaders around me. I want to associate with the smartest people I can find because I find them intellectually stimulating and thought provoking. I want to be with people who are confident and strong and professional and compassionate, because that's what I want to be. I choose leaders who I want to be like. I am always so amazed that the people I admire so much, my leaders, want to be with me too!