Leading to Win or Leading to Grow

Over the last few weeks I have been doing a lot of thinking about the similarities between coaching and leading. There are many parallels between the role of school leader and the role of coach. During a conversation I had this week with a great friend and colleague we were discussing this concept and I paused for a moment of clarity…..although coaches and school leaders are similar there is one BIG difference. Coaches get paid to win! That is their job….winning! If they lose they get fired. I began to reflect on the concept of creating a culture of winning and the desire for some leaders to win at all costs.

As I was preparing to write today I came across the following blog post by David Jackson https://davidjackson7.wordpress.com/2017/11/04/school-leadership-without-fear-part-1/

In his blog he quotes Stephen Covey, Bill Bradley, Ralph Nader and expands on their thinking.

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better”

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers”

“Leadership is infinite. Great leaders draw from a seemingly bottomless well.”

“The bottom line is that what they all say, in one form or another, is that great leaders in pursuit of bold goals create shared enterprise, liberate potential, ignite the flame of passion in others and build leadership capacity – the irresistible capacity to move mountains together.”

In his blog David clearly outlined for me what it means to be a leader that is focused on growth. Inevitably we grow and change as leaders because of our experiences and our reflection on them. I believe a leader’s moral imperative is to support the growth of others. I believe that a healthy organization looks to support the growth and development of all of its members. As leaders we must be open, transparent and strength based. We must create a common vision and work together to achieve it.

I have seen leaders and organizations in which leading to win is part of the culture. This seems to be a collection of individuals who promote their own personal agendas in order to rise to the top. Leaders that lead to win are not interested in developing others around them but are focused on their own growth. They focus on the future and how fast they can make it to the next step. Trust, integrity, transparency and collaboration are weak. There is lack of vision and often competing agendas that leave those who work within the organization confused and floundering to make sense of what is expected of them. There are different factions and alliances and a general sense of confusion and negativity. Working for these leaders or within an organization that supports this culture of winning is challenging, negative and disheartening.

How as David Jackson suggests can we as leaders create shared enterprise?

How do we create a healthy organization that ignites passion in others and allows them to take risks to explore it?

Most of all as leaders how do we build capacity in all those we serve?

For me the ultimate win is supporting the growth and development of others.

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