It’s time to eat the proverbial ‘humble pie’.
I made my first foray into school leadership roles in 2005. At the time I was brash, cocky and filled with an immense sense of self-importance. Needless to say, things did not go very well. My principal sent me to leadership courses (which I sat through with a smug belief that I was already a quality leader). I engaged in 360 Feedback processes (but chose to ignore key feedback messages). Instead of learning and taking ownership of my shortcomings, I chose to blame those giving the feedback, convincing myself that they had a personal issue with me. I missed out on so many wonderful learning opportunities.
Fast forward 8 years and things have changed considerably. I married now with two wonderful children who are not afraid to be (brutally) honest about things. They have really helped me to be more aware of my own behaviours.
Add to this some awesome mentors who saw potential in me and were willing to take the time to help me form a more accurate view of my workplace behaviours – opportunities for growth and areas of strength. I have been so lucky to learn from outstanding leaders in many walks of life.
I have always prided myself on being a learner. I just let my ego get in the way of learning about leadership. Now I love conversations that challenge my thinking. I regularly seek feedback from colleagues and leaders.
In hindsight, I was not ready to lead when I first stepped up. I was looking to lead for all of the wrong reasons – power and respect among them. I was out to prove to people that being older was not a requirement for leadership. I believed that I was smarter than people and a better teacher than most.
Leadership is not about individual glory. If you are leading and nobody is following, you’re just out for a walk. Leadership is about empowering and enabling those around you to achieve success. It’s about influencing and inspiring. And it’s a lot of hard work.
Now, I’m ready to lead because I am ready to learn.