Teachers lead the way: Shouldn’t we develop their leadership skills?
Teachers prepare our next generation of leaders. It’s essential that they be excellent leaders themselves.
Think of a great leader you’ve had in your life and career. Chances are, that person taught you a lot. The ability to teach others is a key component of leadership, so by their very role as educators, teachers are leaders.
But leadership involves more than teaching. And teaching involves more than leading classrooms.
Teachers are expected to lead in different ways and in different settings. (Think of how they had to pivot on a dime during the pandemic.) But they’re not only leading in front of a classroom. They lead various committees as well as clubs, sports, and other extracurricular activities, often alongside parents and other community members. As their careers progress, they often advance into administrative roles. Here they must lead and manage others as well as overseeing the institution itself.
These varied and complex roles require a broad range of leadership skills. Yet, being an excellent teacher-leader of students doesn’t automatically mean excelling in these other types of roles, no matter how “natural” the transition might seem.
In one study that surveyed 300 of the most accomplished teachers in the United States, 82% reported that they had not received training for all the leadership roles they were asked to take on.
At the same time…
…93% had conducted professional development sessions for colleagues
…83% had engaged in curriculum development
…84% percent had served as department chairs, team leaders, or grade-level chairs
…84% percent had mentored new teachers
Those demanding roles require a broad range of personal and interpersonal skills to effectively lead and work with others. They involve communication, collaboration, motivation, problem-solving, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and more. All leaders need these skills to be effective. And they need to understand and cultivate a leadership mindset, including full ownership of outcomes.
It’s about more than teachers’ personal development. Leadership development for teachers also benefits students and the community.
The ripple effect of enhancing teachers’ leadership skills can be seen in:
- Higher student retention and performance. (source)
- Enhanced communication and cooperation between teachers and principals (source), leading to a stronger organizational culture overall. (source)
- Increased probability of teachers seeking intellectual growth and advanced degrees. (source), which again benefits students and our educational system as a whole.
We have high expectations for our teachers but we shouldn’t expect them to lead in all these ways without focused leadership development. Only by equipping them to be their best can they do their best for our children, our schools, and our communities.
As teachers and coaches ourselves, we are committed to preparing the next generation of leaders. Here’s a look at how we help build teacher-leaders. We also work with educational institutions to recruit and select top-notch senior administrators and other executives.
How can we help your leaders and business excel?