By Elaine Gallagher Hello, Readers. We often talk about who’s a good leader, or a bad leader…who shows potential to be a great leader. My […]
We often talk about who’s a good leader, or a bad leader…who shows potential to be a great leader. My definition of a «leader» is «Someone that others choose to follow, to work with, to learn from, and to enjoy sharing ideas with…»
There are many examples or characteristics of leadership. You can find them in Internet, personality studies, and in self-help books. There are no specific essential, obligatory characteristics.
Reviewing my written notes, I had listed nine characteristics of a great leader which I use in some of my courses. Tonight I searched Internet, looking for «nine characteristics of leadership», to make sure I could give credit to someone if my original notes had been taken from an article that I previously had read.
Much to my surprise, I found eleven different sources, all named, «Nine Characteristics of Leadership.» Not one of the eleven articles had the same nine characteristics I am presenting in this article, although «VISION», on my list, appears on seven of the eleven articles I read tonight. So, here are nine key characteristics of leadership. Most influential and positive leaders possess all nine.
The next several paragraphs develop key questions for use in Constructive Interaction, or for general class discussion about leaders. This can be an activity for students, on for teacher meetings in schools that use meetings to develop their staff.
The goal is to get students or teachers to talk, to present and defend ideas. This activity is suited from 5th grade through high school, CEFR levels: B-1, B-2, minimum.
I have provided you with five sets of work. Choose which ones you want to use. You don’t need to do them all, but, follow-up the activity in a few days, or at the next staff meeting, with a new set of questions, so that participants’ brains can synthesize and absorb the topic, the vocabulary, and the major concepts of leadership.
Activities #1, #2, and #4 are at Bloom’s higher levels of Apply, Analyze, and Assess. Work Sets #3 and #5 may be good activities to provide a final assessment of students’ or teachers’ concepts of «leadership.» These activities (#3 and #5) are at the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, Create new ideas or material.
QUESTIONS REQUIRING CRITICAL THINKING, IN ORDER TO ANSWER:
Work Set #1: Can you identify any of these traits in yourself? Or in a family member, a friend, or in a student? If so, how can you support, enhance, or develop these traits? Everyone can’t be a leader because who would follow? But everyone may have the potential to become a leader under certain circumstances. Do you believe this is true or false? Provide evidence or an example.
Work Set #2: Look at these nine traits, suggesting leadership. Do ALL have to be in one person? Which ones could you eliminate, yet, still have a leader? Or are all nine characteristics basic to any leader? Are there some traits you would eliminate, not seeing them as important? Would you replace them with others? Can you add characteristics for a more complete view of what makes a leader?
Work Set #3: In pairs, select 3 well-known, international leaders. Investigate them. Then decide which of the nine traits they exhibit, and/or which ones are missing. What do you think are «negative Leaders»? What traits do they possess? What traits don’t they have?
Present your findings to the class using Power Point, Keynote, or PREZI.
Work Set #4: Looking at the nine traits, do you identify any that could be present in a young child, such as 9 years of age? What reasons, ideas, theories can you suggest to explain why some people become leaders and others do not? Were world-known leaders recognized as being leaders when they were young? Teenagers? What traits may have been seen by parents as «negative», but, developed in an adults, can be positive? Are there characteristics in young children or teens that could help us develop future leaders?
Work Set #5: In small teams (2, 3, 4 students) research any two of these people, especially their youth, maybe before they became famous. Take notes.
Did either of your famous people show unusual, strong, or unique characteristics as a child/teenager? Are any of these traits reflected in their current position?
Can you come up with a statement (or a few) explaining what you believe to be the relationship (if any) between a famous leader and his/her childhood. Relate your findings to the class using presentation tools such as Power Point, Keynote, or Prezi.
NINE LEADERSHIP QUALITIES
Knowledgeable, incisive and adept at problem-solving; can provide a logical, workable solution for most problems.
Calm and rational in tense situations, showing grace under pressure, moods don’t vary; is relaxed, never appearing or saying, «I’m so stressed out.»
Willing to take a stand and accept risks, regardless of professional and personal fall-out. Speaks out when he/she notices grave errors or unproductive decisions, yet is not grossly rude or arrogant in his/her statements.
Promotes large goals and ideas with policies and plans to implement and fulfill them. Has written plans of action far in the future for himself/herself, yet involves others in the implementation of the plans.
Can articulate and «sell» a vision that everyday people can embrace. Provides clear concepts that others can embrace.
Has dynamism and charm that encourage others to follow him/her, inspires others to do their best….often, does not see himself/herself as a «leader», just a person full of ideas…but others seek out the ideas and presence on the leader.
Honest and trustworthy, dependable, engendering respect even among foes; is transparent in his/her actions, and refutes hypocrisy.
Savvy about the workings of his/her area/business so that goals can be accomplished; in education, knows academic theories, and research that support his/her visions.
Has a track record of sound decisions based on facts and research, not only on hopes, ideas, personal bias, or emotions; seems that he/she has a crystal ball to know what will happen, what will be the results of good or of unwise decisions.