I am coming up to my second anniversary in my current teaching position and that means my appraisal is just around the corner. I set myself two big goals for the year, become a better leader… become a better manager. It has been a big year (or two) of learning in my leadership practice and my biggest take away has been to lead from my heart, be myself. I like to think I have made good progress towards my goals but that remains to be seen. I have been reflecting recently about my leadership and how that plays out in my kindergarten to make it the unique, one of a kind place that it is. I have visited countless other centres and kindergarten and felt the impact that philosophical and pedagogical differences can make to a place. My place is not the same as your place, and that’s cool. One of the cornerstones of my leadership practice is the following idea (only just pulled out of my brain and into words):
At the heart of leadership is influence
At the heart of influence is connection
At the heart of connection is shared experience
So, what does that look like in practice? To me it means starting at the bottom by providing plenty of opportunities for people to share experiences, whether it be in the classroom or outside in the community. Just last weekend a small group of kindergarten families took on the color run together. Only four families took part (including mine) but the experience was rich and memorable and will be forever tied in with these families memories of kindergarten. Maybe it is hard to see a link between taking part in the color run together and children’s learning but I believe that if I can provide the platform for parents to talk to me about the stuff that doesn’t really matter, like the color run, then there is a much better chance that they will talk with me honestly and collaboratively about the stuff that does matter, like their kids education. Plus you end up with some great conversations when taking a 5km walk/run together getting pelted with colored chalk!
How about you? What is at the heart of your leadership practice? What makes your place special and unique? Share the love below in the comments!