The Nature of Educational Leadership

Leadership in Education

In various organizational settings, the most sought out rank or title is that of being the “Leader.” Many people take great pride in being in charge. Of course, there could be various reasons for that, including the prestige of being the leader of a very successful organization. In this instance, one reason that springs to mind is the salary.

Being the Chief Executive Officer (or the CEO) of a big organization often means that the individual is paid very well. Either the individual is on the spreadsheet of the so-called “Top 1%” or the person is on his or her way there. It is good to be the boss; it certainly feels good to be in charge.

There is no question about it; there are so many benefits to being the boss that very few people would pass up the opportunity to become a leader in an organization. An even fewer number of people would refuse a leadership position, even though they might not be able to do the job as efficiently or as effectively as others might do it. Yet, this is not always an obstacle to holding a leadership position in most organizational settings.

For the most part, it is all about the title or the money. People do not always hold leadership positions because of their desire to lead. Sometimes, it is not because their performance matters the most.

Leaders versus Followers

Could you be a leader by also being a follower? That question is somewhat oxymoronic. The common understanding is that it is one or the other. But to what extent one is not the same as the other?

These important aspects about leadership are seldom examined in depth. Arguably, leaders do not necessarily lead their organization in its most organic way. Sometimes, leaders are just there to coordinate what others do. Certainly, you could call this the essence of leadership itself. But I could beg to differ.

For example, if the other members of the organization [i.e., the followers] were not on the same page with the leader (they do not share the vision of the leader), the dynamic between the leader and his followers could be detrimental for the organization as a whole. To that extent, a follower must also be a leader or he must act as such in order to reach a common goal. Regardless, the line between the two components of an organization (i.e., the leader and the follower) may be blurry.

The Act of Leading

Leaders do not perforce lead their organization in the most fundamental sense of the word. Many leaders do not necessarily want to be a part of the nitty-gritty of the organization. However, some leaders want to be known as the person who leads the organization towards success. Others want to be seen as the person who helped the organization reach a sustained growth.

In many instances, the leader (or the person with the formal title to lead) often delegates the bulk of his or her responsibilities to others. Many a time, that person delegates his authority to less influential individuals within the organization. In a sense, others are the one that actually lead the organization. Sometimes, they do so by being good followers. What I am saying here is that, for the most part, the best leaders are also the best followers and vice versa.

In these series of posts, I will take a profound look at the term “Constructivist leadership.” In the process, I will examine the nature of school leadership. But keep in mind that I will approach the issues from a different, but a subjective, lens.

Ben Wood Johnson, Ph.D.

Ben Wood Johnson, Ph.D.

President/CEO at BWEC, LLC.
Dr. Johnson is an author, educator, and philosopher. He is a multidisciplinary scholar. He writes about Philosophy, Legal Theory, Public/Foreign Policy, Education, Politics, Ethics, Race, and Crime. Dr. Johnson graduated from Penn State and Villanova University. He is fluent in French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian. Dr. Johnson enjoys reading, poetry, painting, and music.
Ben Wood Johnson, Ph.D.

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