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Leadership Dynamics Reflection


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Leadership Dynamics Reflection

  1. 1. Reflection Paper 1 Running head: REFLECTING ON "DO YOU HAVE THE WILL TO LEAD?" A Reflection on LaBarre's "Do You Have the Will to Lead?" Michael Parent Seton Hall University Cohort XI Leadership Dynamics Dr. Brightman
  2. 2. Reflection Paper 2 LaBarre’s article “Do You Have the Will to Lead?” examines the philosophical aspects of leadership and addresses topics of leadership relevant to education leaders. LaBarre’s article is an interview with philosopher Peter Koestenbaum. Koestenbaum outlines for leaders the necessary shifts in paradigm that must occur in order for leadership to blossom, thrive, and serve the good of subordinates in order to cause a transformation. While Koestenbaum outlines and opines on many great points, two were notable and caused me to think and reflect at great length. Koestenbaum says, “Reflection doesn’t take anything away from decisiveness… it generates an inner toughness… to be a leader.” (Labarre, 2001, p. 3) A basic point, but one that I find very provoking; many leaders fail to take the time to think or reflect on problems or decisions because they fear being seen as weak or indecisicive. In my own experience, I have sometimes failed to reflect because of this fear. Koestenbaum also notes that, “When companies and people get stuck, they tend to apply more steam – more competence – to what got them into trouble in the first place: ‘If I
  3. 3. Reflection Paper 3 try harder, I’ll be successful,’ or ‘ If we exert more control, we’ll get the results we need.” (Labarre, 2001, p. 3). This sentiment could not be more true. We see this as the driving problem in our education system; if we demand more, more will get done. What we are failing to realize is that demanding more accountability, demanding more from students, demanding more from teachers and leaders has caused a stress in the system that is leading to burnout. Koetenbaum urges leaders to not remedy issues by demanding more of the same when confronting a problem, but to “dedicate yourself to understanding yourself better” and to “change your habits of thought: how you think, what you value, how you work , how you connect with people…” (Labarre, 2001, p. 4). It is then that leaders will find new, creative, and healthier ways of reaching goals, finding solutions, and growing into a leadership mind. But once a leader does come to some decision, and that decision has ben reached through a “leadership mind”, how does one then create the will to change in an organization? Koestenbaum says that it is, “not with techniques, but by risking yourself with a personal, lifelong commitment to greatness – by demonstrating courage. You don’t teach it so much as challenge it into existence.” (Labarre, 2001, p.
  4. 4. Reflection Paper 4 6). In essence, leaders don’t finegal change into people – they live it, allow it to show, and cultivate it into a system. This point was extremely powerful for me. So much has been written about successful leadership and how to get people motivated, yet much of these writings rely on teaching the techniques of leadership. What I have been finding very effective in leading my school is the model and grow approach; much like Koestenbaum suggests, the administrative team in my building does not approach the needed change through demanding and forcing, but through living our beliefs and allowing others to grow with us. So much is required of education leaders. We are expected to produce on demand, make improvements sooner rather than later, and justify reflection when the political climate demands action. Koestenbaum offers leaders a much needed view of leadership – one that calls for thinking, quiet reflection, the need for vision, and an ethical and moral self that can me emulated by followers.
  5. 5. Reflection Paper 5 References Labarre, P. (). Do You Have the Will to Lead? Retrieved October 23, 2001, from