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What Does Leadership Development Mean to You?

By Antoinette Darden-Cintron, Leadership Development Coordinator

What does leadership development mean to you? This question was posed to members who attended the 2016 Summer Leadership Conference in Utica, NY. The leadership development committee thought it would be educational to know what our members think of leadership in the NYS PTA. There are two comments that stood out from the feedback we received:

“Leadership development is to expand and broaden your capabilities and share them with others, who will do the same to create new leaders.”

“Leadership development is many different training opportunities and resources.”

These two examples are really great points to what leadership development is and I believe we all have a responsibility to developing leaders. Whether you are the New York State PTA President or the Membership Chairmen at your local unit, our members and our leaders are one in the same. They are the life blood of the sustainability of this association. Each and every member should hold themselves accountable for developing leaders. It is our responsibility to understand the process of what it takes to build leaders at all levels of PTA.

Leadership is not about personality; it’s about behavior—an observable set of skills and abilities we all have. Leaders do not let their differences get in the way of being great leaders and share  great practices of building leaders as well. The excerpt below taken from, succinctly lays out a great example of leadership development that we can implement at all levels of our PTA!

Model the Way 
Leaders establish principles concerning the way people (constituents, peers, colleagues, and customers alike) should be treated and the way goals should be pursued. They create standards of excellence and then set an example for others to follow. Because the prospect of complex change can overwhelm people and stifle action, they set interim goals so that people can achieve small wins as they work toward larger objectives. They unravel bureaucracy when it impedes action; they put up signposts when people are unsure of where to go or how to get there; and they create opportunities for victory.
Inspire a Shared Vision 
Leaders passionately believe that they can make a difference. They envision the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what the organization can become. Through their magnetism and quiet persuasion, leaders enlist others in their dreams. They breathe life into their visions and get people to see exciting possibilities for the future.
Challenge the Process 
Leaders search for opportunities to change the status quo. They look for innovative ways to improve the organization. In doing so, they experiment and take risks. And because leaders know that risk taking involves mistakes and failures, they accept the inevitable disappointments as learning opportunities.
Enable Others to Act 
Leaders foster collaboration and build spirited teams. They actively involve others. Leaders understand that mutual respect is what sustains extraordinary efforts; they strive to create an atmosphere of trust and human dignity. They strengthen others, making each person feel capable and powerful.
Encourage the Heart 
Accomplishing extraordinary things in organizations is hard work. To keep hope and determination alive, leaders recognize contributions that individuals make. In every winning team, the members need to share in the rewards of their efforts, so leaders celebrate accomplishments. They make people feel like heroes.

Our success as an association relies on our abilities as both members and leaders to foster the continued growth of our mission and vision. The accomplishment of fulfilling our mission and vision hinders on the continued growth of our membership and of the development of organizational leadership. Having trained and valued member-leaders is ultimately critical to the successful sustained NYS PTA existence. Thank you for your service, membership, and leadership!