What defines an excellent leader?
An excellent leader is a keen observer, with the natural ability to quickly assess and act decisively in an array of social situations. Whether meeting with the parent of a struggling student or facilitating a curriculum discussion at central office, an excellent leader listens reflectively and speaks intentionally. This leader is able to do so because they know themselves and those around them. They are familiar with students, staff, and the surrounding school community. Stephen Covey writes, “True greatness will be achieved through the abundant mind that works selflessly with mutual respect for mutual benefit.” A true leader values others and strives to serve the greater good. They know the value of building relationships and take every opportunity to notice and praise positive actions. That is because an excellent leader is personable, exuding genuine warmth, empathy, and sincerity. An excellent leader also holds high expectations for themselves and others. They are a “warm-demanders,” supporting insecure, tentative learners while pushing people to go deeper, contribute more, and engage with one another” (Ritchhart, 2014). True leaders support growth like branches of a tree, while they themselves are grounded in their convictions, a system of stable roots nourished by passion, innovation, and positivity. Finally, an excellent leader is a visionary, with the ability to see beyond what is directly in front of them. They use that knowledge to lead by example rather than telling others what to do. “Great leaders don’t tell you what to do…they show you how it’s done.”