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?"
Seton Hall University
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
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
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.
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.
Reflection Paper 5
Labarre, P. (). Do You Have the Will to Lead? Retrieved
October 23, 2001, from