Being an Emerging Leader

In February I finally began my Bastow Emerging Leaders’ Program. Ever since I started seeking my own avenues of learning, I realised that I had to find a face-to-face learning environment that was actually interesting and engaging as well as relevant to me. Whilst I enjoy learning online, it can sometimes feel as if I’m missing out on the in-depth conversations. Twitter is great for micro chats, but having the time and unlimited word count can result in a conversation that is not constricted by 140 characters.

The Bastow course aims to provide teachers with the skills necessary to be an effective leader in their schools. Whilst some teachers in the course have been in positions of responsibility for a couple of years, others like me are just starting out. Everyone is there for the same reason- they all want to be the best leaders and to improve their leadership abilities. The 1st  two workshops allowed the teachers to question themselves and 4 key questions were raised:

Leaders

In the 2 day residential workshops, I felt as if I was stripped bare. There was nowhere to hide- and for once I didn’t feel as if I wanted to run away. I wanted to face my fears and know what I needed to do to become a better leader. I was open about what I needed to work on. My leadership journey is just beginning and I know (at least I think I know) my own strengths and weaknesses. The emotional intelligence test, that all participants had to complete, produced results that weren’t a surprise. Instead of the results making me feel discouraged, they worked to make me more determined about the skills I needed to work on. I wanted to be here- now I was going to have to find the steps that would allow me to go forward.

In the Genos Emotional Intelligence test that I completed, as a requirement for the Bastow course, it identified 4 emotional skills that are important in shaping workplace behaviours. These skills are acquired over time and can help shape and strengthen a leader’s capabilities. The effectiveness of a leader depends not only on their actions but how they react in a variety of situations. The aim of this test was to help participants understand that as leaders they needed to cognizant of that fact.

  1. Awareness (perceiving and understanding your own and others emotions)
  2. Expression (effectively expressing your own emotions)
  3. Reasoning (using emotional information in combination with other data when making decisions)
  4. Management (maintaining positive moods, dealing effectively with with stress and reacting positively in a controlled manner)

In my report, it showed my results for each skill and listed suggestions on how I could improve in each area. I’ve decided that for this year, I will focus on 4 suggestions (1 for each area) in order to further develop my leadership skills. To me, they are my biggest weaknesses which have the major impact on how I react to events that take place around me.

  1. Being aware of how my feelings influence the way I interact with people (awareness)
  2. Expressing how I feel to the right people (expression)
  3. Asking people how they feel about different solutions when solving problems (reasoning)
  4. Handling stressful situations effectively (management)

During the workshop, I questioned myself and my abilities several times. I framed several questions that are important to me on this year long course. I don’t need to have them answered by the end of the year, but they will help me learn and understand more about how I lead.

Do I encourage others to build up their skills?
Do I motivate them to be better?
How do other leaders make me feel? Do I feel daunted or inferior? Or do they make me want to do better? Do they encourage me?
Where am I heading as a leader?
What are the values that shape me as a leader?

[This post was started a week after the workshops but due to a busy schedule, it is only now during the 1st term break that I was able to complete it.]