Courageous leadership can look a little different given particular situations. At times courageous leadership can mean bucking the norm, refusing the status quo and moving an organization in a new direction or into unchartered territory. At times courageous leadership may in fact be speaking up, and being vulnerable as you confront difficult situations, and at times it can be as simple as acknowledging that as a leader you don’t have all the answers.
When I sat down and thought about educators that I believe demonstrate courageous leadership on a regular basis, a couple of names came to me right away, Peter DeWitt and Tony Sinanis. If you are a regular in any number of education chats on Twitter you are sure to have run into them. These two gentleman have had a tremendous impact on me, and many others. In addition to their regular contributions during Twitter chats focusing on education, they write reflective blogs that challenge readers to think deeply about the current issues in education. What makes Tony and Peter particularly courageous is their willingness to wrestle with complex ideas and examine many sides of a situation. They confront reality head-on, and communicate openly. Both of these educators seek feedback and consider multiple viewpoints, you can see this through their participation in regular Twitter chats, education conferences and the dialogue they generate with their individual blogs. Peter and Tony say what needs to be said, even if it may be counter to popular opinion. And there is an understanding that learning can be messy, and that in failure we pave the way for future success. Finally, they lead with heart, and leading with heart takes courage. It means being authentic, being vulnerable and cultivating human relationships.
After I wrote this, I got to thinking of another person that I feel is demonstrating courageous leadership, and her name is Lisa Meade. Lisa is a middle school principal modeling the value of being a connected educator, an innovator and reflective practitioner. She regularly engages and challenges others in many of the education chats on Twitter, and regularly posts her reflections on education and teaching practices in her blog. She understands the importance of building relationships and sharing her passion. Sometimes I don't think she sees herself as being particularly courageous, but she is.
Privileged to have them as colleagues, inspired by their leadership and ultimately blessed by their friendship.
A FEW MUST READS FROM THEIR RESPECTIVE BLOGS: