Teaching Opinion

Great Leadership Starts With Humility

By Starr Sackstein — July 27, 2017 2 min read
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Humble. Compassionate. Knowledgeable. Honest. Fair. Respected.

Strong leaders promote a culture that subordinates want to be a part of. They invite feedback and collaboration, encouraging those around them to be the best versions of themselves.

Great leaders are transparent and vulnerable.

Charged with a quiet confidence, the leaders I want to emulate don’t try to be the smartest people in the room, but rather read the room and gravitate toward those whom they can learn the most from.

As an educator, this is how I’ve grown. Always keeping my eye on the prize, but maintaining an open mind, I talk to everyone and listen better than I speak.

Those of you who know me, know that I’m quite shy until I’m comfortable. This shyness can sometimes come off as evasive, but it’s a critical element that helps me slow down long enough to recognize the genius that I keep around me.

Although I have learned a lot over the last 16 years, recently I’ve been reminded of how much learning is ahead. It’s exciting and stimulating and it makes me eager to jump into my next challenge.

Since I’ve been a teacher leader for a while now, becoming a school leader is taking a shift in my mindset. So I’m watching my respected friends and colleagues even more closely. Intentionally, I’m slowing down, to be thoughtful about my words and reflective about my practices.

The more I learn the more I realize who I want to be as a leader; I want to be the kind of person that my colleagues want to collaborate with. Considering my areas of expertise, I want to share what I know but also learn the best way to apply it with my new colleagues. Building relationships with the folks I’ll be working with will take priority. They should know me, both as an educator and a person.

Each of us brings a unique set of talents to the table, and to be able to get folks on board with new initiatives that will take some shifting of mindsets, I need them to know I respect their expertise and experience. Their voices must be heard. Their questions must be answered, but not by me alone. If real change is going to happen, we have to do it together.

We will create a clear mission together that puts student learning at the front of our discussions. We’ll examine best practices that currently exist and we’ll share our strengths and challenges as a group to begin to move forward.

With an open door, and an open heart, I will eagerly invest in my new environment because kids deserve it and educators need to be a part of something that matters. Casting light upon those I work with, we will focus on our strengths and passions to combat the challenges that will surely arise. This is tough work after all.

When I think about the kind of leader I will be, I shed my inner judgy naysayer and cultivate my curious inner child; the one who sees solutions and smiles through the tough times. The one who can see the strength in the people she encounters. The one who makes it easier to try something new by transparently taking risks to lead the way.

I can’t wait to continue to share my leadership journey with you all and invite your advice and thoughts about the adventure that lies ahead.

When you reflect on the kind of leader you are or the one you’d like to be, how would you describe yourself? How would others describe you? Please share

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