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Saturday, 14 September 2013

Real leaders shouldn't have to read about it?

It is a beautiful day here in Hong Kong. I am usually cycling to the ferry or speed walking the dogs so I do not always get to take in the amazing sights, sounds and smells of Mui Wo.

Blue skies, white clouds and green.
Today I walked around Mui Wo slowly. My mind drifted back to the summer spent in the UK with our family and the two weeks we had spent in Cornwall. My father in law, a wonderful man, and I, spoke about leadership and how we have learned about and from it.
He said during the conversation:

"All these books about leadership...gah...Real leaders shouldn't have to read about it."

In my kindle library if I begin a search with the word 'lead' 18 titles appear. Not all of them are about leadership in education. Here are some of them:

During my walk I thought about whether I should,or should not, have researched, bought and read all of these books, and others, about leadership. I asked these questions of myself:

1. Have I learned from these books and these authors?
2. What are some of the concepts I have learned?
3. Could I have learned the same concepts from anyone or anywhere else?

Here are my answers:

1. I certainly have learned from all of these books and those who wrote them. I obviously do not agree with every single word, idea and concept put on paper (or the screen) but that is learning in itself.

2. I have learned that I have the opportunity to make a difference to peoples lives everyday. I have learned that we all need to know the goals of the organisation and that when you present these visually people understand them. I have had it reinforced that collaboration is vital in leadership as one cannot do it all alone. I have also learned that trust can be broken into two parts: integrity and competence, and that both of these are vital in a leader.

3. I have learned some these from many of the amazing leaders that I have worked with, both those in positions of leadership and those for whom leadership was as natural as breathing. 

When my wife and I found out we were having triplets 11 years ago there was obviously more than a touch of panic in the air. There was one definite way we could learn about what we had to do: read!

So we did. We learned. We're still here.

Maybe real leaders shouldn't have to read books about leadership? Maybe they should? What is important is that as educators we keep learning. Reading is vital to learning and to learn from those who have experienced, researched and shared their knowledge is a joy is a privilege.

I love my father-in-law. I'm glad I read.

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