I interviewed ten social sector leaders to discover how they go about bringing out the best in the people who work with them, and whether it has any connection to how teachers bring out the best in their students. I’m breaking down my findings into bite-size bits. Here’s a bit.
When people train to be teachers, they often have to fill in a reflective journal, with questions like these. When I was training to be a teacher, it was one of the most useful learning tools of all. To
be forced have the chance to stop and think on what I’d been doing—it was invaluable.
Leaders should be doing the same. Some are. Some have coaches who ask these sorts of questions to them. There are different lists out there. Three questions, tough questions, three more questions. Based on the findings from the interviews, I’m suggesting five, and I would highly, highly recommend regularly (= each month), jotting down your answers somewhere, somewhere near where you jotted down your answers the last time, so you can look back. Blog, notebook, napkin—whatever you like.
- What style of leadership have I been using most recently (coaching, directive, flexible, firm etc)? How has it been working?
- How has my time been divided between my own work, talking to my team (individually and together), meeting with others? Does anything need to change?
- What are the strengths and attitudes that I admire? How do these map onto my team at the moment?
- What do I want to see more of? How do people know I want more of it? How can I encourage it?
- What have I been avoiding? What’s one thing I can do today about it?