Inspiration is a Two-Way Street

to-inspire

Leadership involves – or at least should involve – a certain amount of inspiration. People who grow into leadership positions are usually inspirational in one sense or another. Some might be recognized for their inspiring practice, others for their ability to generate creative ideas, their ability to bond with students, their depth of knowledge, their talents or their aptitude for getting the best out of people.

But, this capacity for inspiration does not come from an infinite source – it could, at any time, dry up. It may disappear temporarily for different periods of time or, worse, it may dry up completely.

You see, inspiration cannot exist in isolation. It may do so for a while, but eventually its going to need something – or someone – else to feed off. Inspirational people need to surround themselves with other people who are capable of inspiring them, they need to be constantly challenged and to have their thinking re-arranged. This does not mean being surrounded by people who see things the same way, although that – to a certain extent – is not a bad thing. Instead, it means having people around who surprise you, shock you, challenge you, excite you, influence you, motivate you, impress you and invigorate you.

In the context of schools, this is particularly true. Pedagogical leaders  end up being promoted away from kids and out of the classroom – the sources of inspiration. For a while, referring back to their own practices may serve a purpose, but they will eventually fade into memories. A good leader knows that and seeks to redress the balance by finding and hiring talented individuals who can serve as their inspiration and then set out to create an atmosphere – a “culture of permission” that allows them the scope to express themselves.

A problem with this, though, is that many teachers struggle  with the concept of self-actualization and taking control of their own growth. It is amazing how often you will hear people saying they wish they had more freedom in one breath, but then complain about not being told what to do in the next! Leaders genuinely appreciate those people who seek them out with ideas, with alternative approaches, with innovative suggestions or even just to talk through something they’re thinking about. People like that are energizing and  – whether they know it or not – are inevitably a source of inspiration for people in leadership positions.

All of this should leave us asking several questions:

Leaders should be asking themselves what type of people inspire them, whether they are surrounded by that type of people and how they can make sure they are!

Teachers should be asking themselves what kind of energy they give off – are they the type that is capable of exciting, of invigorating and inspiring? If not, how can they be more like that?

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 comments

  1. Pingback: Inspiration is a Two-Way Street | PYP Blogging ...
  2. concentricthinking

    Sam, totally agree with you here. It is a two way street. Leadership/admin also need to remember what it is like to be a teacher and the realities that come with doing an inordinate number of things on the go. I am reading a book at the moment about asking (inquiring) and not telling or making assumptions. We all need to seek clarity by asking what people are up to instead of telling them. You get more bees with honey. As far as inspiration goes, I think schools need to strip it all back and remove a lot of the things and traditions we do. It is very difficult to let inspiration in when we are all just ‘getting through it.’ Sadly, the feeling of getting through it is over taking us more and more and as a result inspiration is less and less. Ideas, creativity, imagination, innovation comes to light when we are paying attention, have awareness and are doing fewer things well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s