About My Leadership Philosophy.
Keith Chicquen, Headmaster, TASIS Portugal
To me, leadership is not a philosophy, but an action. I believe that the most important outcome of effective leadership is a great team. Acts of true leadership require courage, which is why Sir Winston Churchill deemed it the most important quality: “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.”
Courage to Serve. Courage to Trust. Courage to Learn. Courage to Dare.
In articulating my leadership style, I reflect on what drives me personally and what matters most in my professional life. The foundation of who I am as an educator has always been defined by my commitment to the student experience. Schools exist to serve students. I believe that the first job of a leader is to serve. In the words of Max DePree, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.”
Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.Warren Bennis
Having built high performing teams as a coach for 25 years, I know that trust is a fundamental requirement. Trust is what allows us to engage and commit to the vision and to each other.
Schools are learning communities – not only for students, but for staff and leaders. We are never fully made. We learn by doing. We do by having the courage and confidence to take risks, try new things, to fail, and to grow.
Schools are relatively safe, risk-averse environments. That is a good thing. However, they can also become mired in a tradition and history that can kill innovation and opportunity. The job of schools is to prepare students for life. The job of school leaders today is to ensure that their schools are ready to prepare students for a future that is much less certain than at any other time in history. Doing what we have always done may seem safe; however, it takes vision and courage for leaders to see what lies ahead and dare to be greater than they are. "A ship in harbor is safe; but that is not what ships were built for." - Grace Hopper