Leading with Heart

This week, I was struck by Kotter’s explanation of role models. As a teacher, I’ve always encouraged students to identify people that inspire them or that they look up to. Sometimes the answers are amazing, but sometimes I struggle to understand what my students see in this particular person. However, I never really thought about what allowed the students to form that connection. Kotter described role models as being able to form a connection to hearts, which then influences feelings and behaviors. I think that this knowledge will help me to better discuss role models with my students this year. For example, some of my students will always pick Lebron James. While I can understand the appeal of wanting to be like a player that can score a lot of points in a game, I think that listening to my students “why” will help me to form a stronger understanding of their personal motivations and desires. Perhaps they are connecting on a deeper level that I just haven’t witnessed or am not familiar with.

When it comes to change, I feel as though we’ve traditionally appealed to the mind because it is easier to do. We are a society driven by facts, information, and visual data. It is much easier to be able to show our ideas than to explain why they are important. However, we also live in a society where new information and data is produced each minute. If we want to establish a long-lasting change, we need to show others the significance and the need for this change. We need the clearly show others the “why.” As Sinek says in his video, “The goal should be to do business with people who believe what you believe.” If we don’t clearly show our “why”, we are not going to be able to connect with others in our institutions on the deepest level.

We also need to remember another statement by Sinek. “What you do proves what you believe.” We have formulated an idea for an innovation we would like to see within our organization. This plan should be proof of our “why”. What I find interesting is that we developed our plans first, and now we are stating our “why”! (Judging by the course numbers, I’m thinking that is a scheduling thing?) In the end, I do feel as though the order doesn’t matter. After all, I don’t think that we could have written a plan for change without knowing in our hearts why the change was needed in the first place. 🙂

When I think about creating a sense of urgency within my organization, I think that my “why” is what will set me apart and help me to illustrate the need for my plan. As Sinek stated, “There are leaders and those who lead. We follow those who lead for ourselves.” By introducing my project with my “why”, it is my hope that others in my organization will be able to share my “why” and will join my project not because I’m asking them to, but because they believe in it themselves and I’ve connected with their hearts.

Please check out my “why” below!

What's Your Why?

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