Role of a Leader/Sustainable Leadership Essay

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Role of a Leader/Sustainable Leadership

At first thought, one might think that a leader is an individual who must wear many hats. Leaders are often thought of as individuals who have an innate sense of how to react when responding to various situations. Individuals in leadership positions have all of the answers and are experts in each area of their particular field. While many people may feel that the aforementioned statements are true in terms of what a leader is, I think differently. Knowing how to be an effective leader is not necessarily something that you are born possessing. Leaders must learn the capacities and competencies imperative to lead effectively. Leaders do not have all of the answers, rather they are able to align themselves with people who have specific levels of expertise in critical areas. Leaders are able to unite staff with various skills by identifying each individual's strengths and weaknesses in order to serve as a facilitator who is able to elicit the best results for the good of the organization. Finally, the most effective leaders lead by inspiring, not intimidation. Leaders align the organization's mission and vision with an achievable goal. By encouraging others, leaders are able to successfully direct team members in order to make sure goals are accomplished in a way that satisfies the needs of all stakeholders. As evidenced in the article, "The Seven Principles of Sustainable Leadership," it is not enough for a leader to work in isolation in order to bring systematic and long-term change into a school. In order to obtain this goal, leadership sustainability must take place. One way to engage in sustainable leadership is by resisting the urge to work towards short-term, instantaneous gains. This is a flaw in many schools and school districts because the need and want for change seems to be an immediate necessity. With the onset of high-stakes testing, accountability for student learning is mostly obtained by analyzing standardized test scores. In the elementary setting, this accounts for grades 3-5. Principals pour all of their resources and high achieving teachers into these grades. "Bubble Students" are targeted and a high focus is put on teaching the way the test will be given in order for students to score at least the minimum level required by the state. Nevertheless, although schools may see short-term gains, students in lower grades continue to suffer and many are not on grade level by the time they reach third, fourth, or fifth grade due to less qualified teachers and less support in the lower grades. The sequence continues and schools never seem able to surpass the cycle of unprepared students coming from primary grades. Sustainable leadership means engaging all students academically by providing a high quality education that meets the individual needs of each student (Hargreaves & Fink, 2004). Sustainable leadership also occurs when leaders realize that they cannot accomplish change alone. Leaders must build capacity within