Modeling Leadership Style
What kind of leadership style are you modeling in your family?
I grew up in a first-generation immigrant family. My father worked 6 days a week as a physician at a hospital, a clinic, and also running his own practice. He left early in the morning and returned late at night. The only day he was home was Sunday. On Sundays, he worked too but on home-related things: mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, changing the oil in the car. He was a hard worker who was dedicated to his profession and to his patients and was determined to create a certain life in a new country for his family. What did I learn from watching him? I learned to work hard all the time. I learned that you can achieve what you set out to with determination. I learned that it was important to do things yourself. I also learned difficult things, some of which I have had to unlearn. I thought you had to work constantly to prove yourself and be the best no matter how tired you were and at what cost to your family. I learned that moments of peace and joy were secondary. I learned that exercise was not for the enjoyment of movement and being in nature. I learned that balance was very hard to achieve.
What kind of leadership style are you modeling for your team?
You might be going about leading in the way you have always led. Have you considered that your team is watching and sees you as a model much in the way kids watch a parent for cues and the way students watch a teacher for the parameters? This is one distinct way of setting a work culture in your team.
Here are some thoughts that helped me:
- Reflect on how you lead. Write down your actions, your words, your reactions. Look for patterns.
- Think about the messages your actions and words send your people. How does what you do set the tone for what your people do?
- Create an intention around a small shift. Pick one very small area to make a shift. Do it.
- Reflect. Look for patterns and repeat.
Now, as an educator, a leader, and a parent, I am more aware of the way my actions and choices model culture for my team, my students, or even my own children. This requires a lot of slowing down and reflection. I look at outcomes and follow the path back to some of my modeling. I try to take ownership. This ongoing work is leading to transformative change for myself and for my team, my students, and my own children.