The concept of ethical leadership is one that cuts across all organizations. It is a topic that stands alone in a world fraught with fears, materialism, and intensity. A reflective perspective is needed when speaking about this topic for discussions to be fruitful. The #leadfromwithin PLN posed this topic last night and through a series of well-structured questions elicited thoughtful responses. Being that the exchange was philosophical in nature, I lurked temporarily while reflecting on the intensity of the questions and the flow of conversation. I jumped in when I felt ready to voice my opinion. Pointed questions encouraged the professional learning community to speak their mind from a lead from within stance. Statements surfaced as quickly as questions were posted. Engrossing, stimulating conversation led me to ponder each thought. Lolly Daskal kept the pace flowing in the hour-long talk that she described as empowering. Not knowing the community of learners, I was truly impressed by the questions put forth and the collegial nature of the respondents.
In today's multi-modal, fast-paced world, leadership is a fine balancing act. Leaders look to the future while building a foundation of trust. Organizations grow because of such strategically-minded leaders who have vision and an ethical code of conduct, housed in a defined set of beliefs. With toolbox in hand, ethical leaders explore new ground with their stakeholders, using mission and vision statements powered by strategic plans to map the course. Norms to establish a common language are perched on top to be the first handout for step one of the journey. Reflection, assessment, and action, based on commitment to the vision, are the next layer of tools to further a collaborative spirit among participants. Without the resources, commitment, and passion to lay the course, organizations cannot proceed on a success-oriented path.
Ethical leadership lights the torch to move others along the path, beyond the norm, and onto a new landscape, but as Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "A good leader can't get too far ahead of his followers." The leader must pave the way but with discretion, know when to slow the pace, reevaluate, and then move one step further. It is not about the distance we cover, but the depth of each leg of the journey. Leaders know the value of pacing while on the path. They model determination, resolutely guiding their organizations from a solid footing rooted in strong values and beliefs. Gathering momentum from the collective conscience of their groups, leaders move their organizations forward.
One bright light in this world, can ignite a fire of change but it takes ethics, passion, and endurance, the marks of a resolute leader. As you move steadfastly on your journey of growth and instructional change, be ever mindful that ethics drives your course. Dream, become a learner, inspire, build momentum, and act in a way that others will willingly follow your path. The road is rocky, but the goal of positively impacting the teaching and learning lives of others is noble. Be the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage to courageously move forward.