leadership-153250_640I was surprised recently when John Michel – @johnemichel (Brig Gen, USAF)  and Matthew T Fritz – @fritzmt (Lt Col, USAF)  followed me on Twitter.  I’m also honoured, and a  little puzzled.

Both of these gentlemen blog on General Leadership, which carries the subtitle “Leadership Advice from America’s Most Trusted Leaders!” On the other hand, most of my Twitter activity is about using technology in K-12 education.

However, being followed by two officers of the USAF who blog about leadership is intriguing because one of my long-time interests is leadership. Although it’s a category on this site, and I have several drafts related to leadership, this is the first article on the topic that I’ve published here. The only mention of “leadership” or “leader” on my Twitter account refers to my job title of Technology Integration Leader. I assume that neither Fritz nor Michel are in the habit of following everyone with the word “leader” somewhere in their Twitter profile.

So, why Michel and Fritz followed me remains a mystery, but I’m glad they did.

On April 19, Jean Michel Tweeted a link to 15 Ways to Identify Bad Leaders by Mike Myatt at Forbes.  Since I usually observe more examples of bad leadership than good, I was interested.  You see, I spent 26 years in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Reservist and Officer.  Leadership is taught explicitly to people who choose to pursue the military as either a full- or part-time career.

While I think some people are “born leaders”, I also think that even those people benefit greatly from good leadership instruction and by observing good leadership practices.  The explicit attention to leadership is sadly missing in our society today.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself…

While I realize that leadership is a complex network of ideas and theories – many of which I know nothing about, I also think that basic leadership principles can be understood and achieved by many, and should be a topic of interest of anyone in any leadership role.

My hope here is to do a series of articles based on what I believe to be some of the basic tenants of good leadership, talking about each one in some general terms and then considering how each can be applied in a school or education setting. I also want to look at what I believe to be some mistaken qualities of a leader.

This series has been on my mind for some time now, but reading the article mentioned above has given me the courage to move forward with it because the 15 Ways to Identify Bad Leaders, fits almost perfectly with what I believe to be the qualities of a good leader – so, while some of my thoughts may be “old school” I can’t be too far off!

I’ll leave it here for now. I look forward to any thoughts or comments as I prepare my next article which will deal with the principle of Leading by Example.  If only one principle of leadership is ever known, this is the one it should be.