What is at the center of your leadership heart?

By Marianne Vangoor  |  January 28th

What is at the center of your leadership heart? What motivates you to get up each morning and enter into another busy day at your school? Is it the educational structures or systems that you can create and manage? Is it being recognized as the leader within your community? Or is it the people that you lead from the students, to the staff, to the community? To be an impactful and motivational leader whom others will respect and follow, I believe people should always be at the center of leadership. School leaders should ask themselves on a regular basis “How much do I care about the people I lead?” And then follow it with “How do I show the people I lead that I do genuinely care?”

Time and life experience have taught me that some simple values and practices are essential in showing care for those we lead. We need to pay attention to others and really see them; we must listen carefully and deeply to what they are saying, (or not saying); and we must celebrate successes or achievements. It also means loving people enough to have a crucial or the “Extra Grace Required” (EGR) conversation when the need arises. It means setting aside what we have put on our list of things to accomplish to instead walk beside those whom we are leading when they need us to do so. It means sharing deeply in joys and sorrows, laughter and tears. Doing these things will demonstrate genuine care and will encourage both hearts and spirits, your own included.

John H. Stanford, a United States Army officer who later became superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, was a passionate leader who believed the secret to impactful, meaningful leadership was to “stay in love.” He writes, “Staying in love gives you the fire to really ignite other people, to see inside other people, to have a greater desire to get things done that other people. When you are in love with the people you lead, the products and services you offer, and the customers and clients you serve, you just pour your heart into it.”

As Christian school leaders, we have the example of Christ to follow in our leadership. He loved his followers so much (that includes us) that He gave His life! So, let’s keep loving those we lead! Everyone will benefit! Your heart will be full!