Leading in Challenging Times

Presented by: Floyd Martens, President of the Canadian School Boards Association

“You are all leaders”

Leadership in challenging times is something that doesn’t come by chance. According to Floyd Martens, leaders must  have these five characteristics; pay attention, learn much, listen carefully, ask deeply and think wisely. These are all steps to become a proactive leader, which is crucial in challenging times. You must be able to pay attention to all details and fully understand the situation before you try to lead through it. An effective leader must learn from each challenge and understand every conflict should be taken as an opportunity to learn. You have two ears and one mouth, meaning, you should listen to twice as much as you talk and in challenging times it’s easier to speak than to listen. An effective leader must be able to manage both areas. As well, ask questions to find and further develop the ideas of the peers and in hard times you must be able to ask the hard questions. Furthermore you must be able to think in-depth about the situation and think about the long term implications of any decision you make, not only thinking short term goals.

Personally, I feel I gravitate towards a leadership role in many different areas. Having the opportunity to listen to this speech gave me the insight to improve my skills as a leader and how important it is to have an effective leader. Being an empowering student leader is key to ensuring student voices are heard, and that is something I strive to do.