There might not be a more talked about subject in education today than leadership. It seems like every book that I pick up has something about what we can do to be better leaders. What are strategies we can use? Who should our followers be? How can we be leaders in our schools? These are just some of the questions that books attempt to answer. However, George Couros (2015) provides a simple list of 8 things in his book The Innovator’s Mindset that make an innovative leader. It’s simplicity in a discipline that has gotten too complicated is appreciated by me.
Courous (2015)says innovative leaders are:
- Models of Learning
- Open Risk-Takers
- Team Builders
- Always Focused on Relationships
I feel confident about my skills in many of these categories. My youth makes me visionary, leaving college has given me many great ideas for the future. In my classroom I am not afraid to take risks and I do it often. Building relationships is something that I consider myself very good at.
If I were to pick the thing I am best at though, it would be Team Building. I have been on so many different teams in my life that I have seen the best and the worst. My life has experienced winners and losers. These competitions have taken place in the DakotaDome all the way to the Science Olympiad teams in high school. This experience has made me very comfortable with groups of people.
I view my class as a team of people. Their goal is to be the best group they can possibly be and I want them to see every day as a competition. Now, I do not want this competition to be against other classes or other schools. Rather, I want them to be in competition with themselves. Couros (2015) tells us that innovation comes from groups that are NOT like mined. Groups that are similar are the ones who are going to fail. They fail because they do not have anything to challenge beliefs (Couros, 2015). These groups are blinded by the status quo. The thing I do better than anything is cause students to challenge beliefs. I am good at creating a class where students can fiercely debate but leave as friends at the end of the day. Some days students may get frustrated with me since I always take up the side that the minority of the class is arguing for. However, I have found that when our beliefs are challenged we are forced to think. When we are forced to think about our beliefs and then come to a conclusion, they become solid. I do not shy away from big things like abortion, or gay marriage or transgender issues because they cause great debates and students truly learn from these topics. My ability to create a class with mutual respect that functions as a team is something I am especially proud of.
Couros, G. (2015). The innovator’s mindset: Empower learning, unleash talent, and lead a
culture of creativity. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting.