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what they do well and what they do poorly. They utilize their strengths and
compensate for their areas of weakness by building a dynamic work team that
is diverse in its skill set and mind-set.
In addition, it is crucial for a leader to have a wide breadth and deep depth
of knowledge of others and craft knowledge. How does seeking and having a
wide breadth of knowledge of people and one’s craft help someone be an effec-
tive leader? Well, just like the popular saying “You can’t teach what you don’t
know,” an education leader who understands the people he or she leads and has
a wide breadth of craft knowledge is a leader who knows the ins and outs of his
or her area of specialization. A good leader appreciates that not everyone needs
to be lead in the same way. A good leader stays current and is knowledgeable of
the latest research theories and best practices in his or her discipline.
Having this knowledge allows leaders to explore out-of-the-box thinking
and to stay at the cutting edge of their field. I have seen firsthand that those
being led want to follow leaders who are more knowledgeable than they are.
People want leaders who inspire and motivate them to consider and entertain
new possibilities—which requires knowledge. After all, why would anyone
want to follow someone who knows less than they do?
I tell new and emerging leaders, “You have to be at the top of your game.
You have to know what you know, why you know it, and where you got it
from.” In other words, “You have to know the rules in order to break the rules.”
This holds especially true within a leader’s area of specialization. By having
extensive knowledge of the discipline, leaders can break the rules because they
understand the cause and effect of any action. These leaders also understand
how far they can veer off the beaten path without causing problems.
3. Social Justice
By social justice, I mean the mitigation of social or economic disadvantages that
certain groups face or bringing voice to the marginalization of individuals due
to race, class language, disability, or sexual orientation. Social justice is about
fairness, equality, and the acknowledgment that some people start out in life
with better opportunities than others do. Because of this, my stand on social
justice is to try to be a mediator between the circumstances where one starts in
life and where one ends.
My desire to advocate for social justice is one of the main reasons—if
not the main reason—for my involvement in education. Education is a good