The preparation for leadership parallels the preparation of the teacher called for by Maria Montessori. In the words of the ancient Confucian master, Nan Huai Chin: “If you want to be a leader, you have to be a real human being. You must recognize the true meaning of life before you can become a great leader. You must understand yourself first.” Along with the paradigm shift to the information age comes the need for new kinds of leadership. Interestingly, the forms prescribed by our modern cutting edge thinkers revive many concepts of integrity and service to humanity inherent in ancient Greek and Chinese thoughts on leadership.
It is important to realize that effective leadership is not a function of personality type or formulaic top down administration but more importantly it consists of a healthy, consistent process of incorporating all the voices and energy of a group while striving realistically for continuous improvement. Added to this is social and environmental responsibility for the long term impact of practices and decisions.
Fortunately many pioneers, such as Peter Drucker, Peter Senge, Nancy Foy, Thomas Peters, Tim Seldin, Jonathon Wolfe and their collaborators have forged the way on new leadership.
In this section, we will explore these authors and share some of their more practical ideas as they apply to leadership in education.