Leadership Quotes For School Leaders.
Continuing our series on examining how we can apply famous leadership quotes to school leadership our next quote is “The supreme quality of leadership is integrity.” by Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Imagine you are a teacher in a school where the headteacher is dishonest, inconsistent, and unethical. How would you feel? How would you perform? How would you trust and respect your leader? How would you serve your students and your community? Chances are, you would feel demoralised, frustrated, and disillusioned. You would perform poorly, or at least below your potential. You would distrust and resent your leader, and perhaps even question their motives and decisions. You would struggle to provide the best education and care for your students and your community, and perhaps even lose your passion and purpose for your profession.
Now imagine you are a teacher in a school where the headteacher is honest, consistent, and ethical. How would you feel? How would you perform? How would you trust and respect your leader? How would you serve your students and your community? Chances are, you would feel inspired, motivated, and empowered. You would perform well, or at least above your expectations. You would trust and respect your leader, and perhaps even admire and emulate them. You would strive to provide the best education and care for your students and your community, and perhaps even renew your passion and purpose for your profession.
The difference between these two scenarios is one thing: integrity. Integrity is the quality of being honest, consistent, and ethical. It is the supreme quality of leadership, as Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States and one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century, said: “The supreme quality of leadership is integrity.” He knew what he was talking about, as he led the Allied forces to victory in World War II, and then led the nation to peace and prosperity in the post-war era.
Why is Integrity Essential for School Leaders?
Integrity is essential for school leadership, because as headteachers and senior leaders, you are responsible for leading and managing complex and dynamic educational organisations that aim to improve teaching and learning outcomes for all students. You face various challenges and opportunities in your roles, such as ensuring high-quality instruction and curriculum, allocating and managing resources effectively and efficiently, engaging and collaborating with diverse and sometimes conflicting stakeholders, such as staff, students, parents, community, and external partners, and fostering a positive and collaborative school culture that supports learning and well-being. To overcome these challenges and seize these opportunities, you need to act with integrity, to uphold your values and principles, to fulfill your responsibilities and obligations, and to serve the best interests of your followers and stakeholders.
What Values Are Needed For A School Leader with Integrity?
School leaders with integrity are honest with themselves and others. They do not lie, deceive, or manipulate to gain personal advantage or to avoid accountability. They admit their mistakes and failures, and learn from them. They also communicate clearly and transparently, and share relevant information and feedback with their followers and stakeholders. Honesty builds trust and credibility, which are essential for effective school leadership and gaining genuine buy in from your teams.
School leaders with integrity are consistent in their words and actions. They do not change their opinions or positions based on convenience or pressure. They follow through on their promises and commitments, and deliver on their expectations and goals. They also align their actions with their values and principles, and do not compromise or violate them for any reason. Consistency builds reliability and predictability, which are essential for effective school leadership.
School leaders with integrity are ethical in their decisions and plans. They do not act selfishly, unfairly, or unprofessionally. They respect the rights, dignity, and diversity of others, and treat them with fairness and justice. They also consider the consequences and impacts of their decisions and actions, and strive to achieve positive and sustainable outcomes for themselves and others. Ethics builds respect and responsibility, which are essential for effective school leadership. They can guide your decisions and provide a moral compass for guiding you on how to approach challenges.
The quote “The supreme quality of leadership is integrity.” by Dwight D. Eisenhower highlights the importance of integrity as the core and foundation of school leadership. Integrity encompasses honesty, consistency, and ethics, which are the key aspects and benefits of school leadership integrity. School leaders with integrity can earn the trust, respect, and loyalty of their followers, and achieve lasting and meaningful success in their endeavours. Integrity is not only a quality, but also a choice.
It is a choice that you make every day, in every situation, and with every person. It is a choice that reflects who you are, what you stand for, and how you lead. It is a choice that makes a difference, not only for yourself, but also for your staff, your students, and your community. So, I challenge you to make this choice, to choose integrity, to choose to be the best leader that you can be. Because, as Eisenhower said, integrity is the supreme quality of leadership. And you, as school leaders, are the supreme leaders of our future.