Purpose, Vision, Relationships: requirements for leadership

I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership. To be honest, I think I have opened several blogs by saying that. So, I guess you could say I am always thinking about leadership. I have been under leaders that I would run through walls for. I’ve had managers I wouldn’t even cross the street to help. And, I wonder why?

In previous blogs, I’ve talked about my leadership core values. I’ve talked about leadership qualities. I’ve talked about the difference between leadership and management. But I have never asked or answered the question: What must you have to lead?

It’s no simple question with no simple answer, but, as I was thinking through it, I centered on this thought:

Your purpose is your passion.

Your vision is your road map.

Relationships are the vehicle to get there.

If you get these three truths, you can lead.

So, quickly:

Your passion is your purpose.

There are an alarming number of people who don’t know why they do stuff. Like tons. When you ask them, they will respond with “I don’t know” “It’s what I was supposed to be doing” “I was told to do this”. They have no real understanding of why they are doing what they are doing. They have no purpose. No drive. No passion.

A leader can’t be one of those people. They must know why they are doing what they are doing at all times. Now, one cannot be ready for every situation. It’s impossible. Teach middle school. You will find this to be true. But, a if person can know what they believe about school, know their moral and ethical absolutes, and understands the importance of character, they can have purpose, and what drives purpose is passion.

Your vision is your road map.

If you don’t have a vision for your school, you can never be a leader. You are middle management. Sorry friend. Even vision has the requirement of purpose. You cannot lead from a position of ambiguity. You must be centered, and when centered you can cast that vision.

When casting a vision, you need to understand the two key components: The goal and the path. The goal must be the school you want to exist in the future. The path is the realities that need to exist to make it possible. You have to plan for the future while guiding your present. So many times people want school to be better, they just don’t want it to be different. When you cast a vision there is a sense of constant shifting that must happen to get to the goal. Different is the new constant.

Relationships are the vehicle to get there.

Obviously, a leader cannot cast and accomplish the vision alone. Relationships are the engine of improvement, and a leader who can cultivate relationships with people understands that leadership is a group activity. Understanding the power of those who relate not only aids attaining the vision, it builds culture where perpetual improvement is the norm. It creates a space where people operate from a position of unified thinking.

From that position of unified thinking is the way you reach your goal, and prove your leadership.

Your thoughts are welcomed and encouraged,

Dane Barner


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