Leadership is a way of controlling, managing or organising others in a certain group or organisation. There are different types of leadership but this time I want to focus on emotional leadership. As an emotional leader you need to have qualities of emotional intelligence which are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation and empathy.
As a teacher you should be aware of yourself, your actions, emotions, thoughts and your personality. You are working with children; do not let your anger or stress to impact learners under your leadership. Be like great parents, what did great parents do? They provide their children with everything. Create a positive environment whereby learners trust and co-operate with you. Do not forget trust and cooperation are feelings they are not instructions. You can’t instruct learners to trust or cooperate with you, but create a safe environment and trust and cooperation will grow. Let learners feel safe under your leadership and they will do remarkable things.
Leadership is a choice not a rank. We know many teachers who are not leaders but authoritarian; learners follow their instructions because they have authority over them. Do not hurt your relationship with learners because of the authority you have. We do have many teachers who are not friendly, threatening, full of anger and full of intimidation. These are not leaders but authoritarians; learners do what they say because of that authority unless they could not follow them.
Life is a journey full of trials, U-turns, speed bumps and reckless drivers who are sometimes teachers. Learners are also people – they have feelings, they have emotions, they also go through difficult life experiences. Show empathy, put yourself in their shoes, do not forget there is no one-size-fits-all with a good leader.
Lastly, I wish we all could have this leadership styles of Mrs Jacolyn van Wyk, Mrs Renalte Olga Shikwaya and Mrs K H Kambaekua “Sweetheart”. These are the leaders we need in school because they always make sure that members under their leadership are safe. They always sacrifice themselves to meet that demand, they motivate, inspire and encourage everyone to do his/her best no matter the circumstances. Kenneth Blanchard once said the key to successful leadership today is influence not authority. Create a good a leader today and he/she will lead you in a good way tomorrow like Renalte Olga Shikwaya.
* Muhekeni Sadam Likius, a third-year Unam student studying education majoring in junior primary.