Reflections on Leadership–Would You Rather Be Liked or Effective (article by Allison Vaillancourt)

Posted: January 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

As you’ve gathered if you are a regular reader of this blog–I love to read.  Today’s post is from an article I read by Allison M. Vaillancourt on leadership.  She takes on the age old question of whether or not leaders can be liked and respected–or if a leader must choose one.

This caught my attention as my dissertation was on the journey of female leaders to the role of the superintendent.  What I found was that these leaders were highly relational, and used this relational leadership to drive how they led the district.  For them, the question wasn’t which to pick–relationships or respect.  Instead they built relationships and knowledge of the district, students, staff, and community to help them be more effective leaders.

In the article “Would You Rather Be Liked or Effective” Allison Vaillancourt writes:

“Leaders who see value in being both liked and effective appreciate the importance of helping others see the need for change, attending to individual and group dynamics, honoring cultural traditions, and creating optimism about the future rather than fear of what might happen if others don’t go along.  Importantly, the most successful leaders appreciate the value of creating a reservoir of goodwill, building solid relationships, and providing they are worth following.  These individuals appreciate the limitations of going solo and tend to get a lot done because of, not despite, the trust-based relationships they have established.”

I see a lot of similarities between what this author thinks and what I found in my research.  Interesting…

So what does that mean for me?  Well, as a first year Superintendent, I have spent the first six months getting to know students, staff, and parents.  I’ve been working to learn by watching and listening and to become part of the culture of this great school district.  As now I turn toward looking at the future and planning strategic next steps, it will be important to rally the team with me as we begin to plan next steps.  

Make sure you click here to read the entire article–it is worth your time!

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