What Is Leadership? Montessorians Respond

Article excerpt

In preparation for this issue of Montessori Life, we polled a group of Montessorians and asked them to give us their take on leadership. These are a few of the responses we received.

- The Editors

If to be a leader is to be a guide, forerunner, and director of others (as Webster indicates), then we all accept a leadership role at some point in our lives. The style of leadership lies at the heart of one's success, be it as a parent, classroom teacher, board member, or political representative. A leader accepts responsibility for directing others fairly, firmly, and open-mindedly, keeping the best interests of the whole in constant focus while recognizing individual needs.

AMS board members, like political party members, are susceptible to protecting agendas, whether they be one's own or someone else's. This can lead to blindness to the bottom line issues. Taking leadership means being able to visualize the big picture and assist the group in doing the same. Sometimes that means asking the hard questions, whether they are financial, philosophical, or action-oriented. It is easy to ignore or cajole a person who asks too many questions and hope the intent will be diffused. But leadership means not being distracted from concerns until reasoned satisfaction is met. Sometimes it means having the tenacity to do the right thing rather than coming to a quicker consensus.

So if you find yourself at loggerheads with a board president, put yourself in his or her shoes. He or she has accepted the role of constituent representative with final fiduciary responsibility and (hopefully) a sense of ethical fairness to all. A good leader is open to the many sides without losing focus on the core issue or issues. A good leader works towards consensus by bringing all pertinent information to the table. A good leader knows where the buck stops, and responds in kind.

Too bad it is good leadership that is missing in much of our corporate and political arenas today.

-Patti Tepper-Rasmussen is a past president of the AMS Board.

One duty of a leader is to be involved in state and federal government issues that have an impact on the lives of children. …