Finding Leadership Through Resolution ~ Mrs. CooperLeave your thoughts
By Madeline Montes
When a leader comes to mind, many people may conjure up images of devoted followers under one person in power. But, what happens when a leader is challenged? Are you still considered a leader if not everyone agrees with you? As the definition of leadership is broadening, the members of FLINT aim to educate the Prep community about leadership. Through interviewing the faculty we hope to hear their opinions on the values of leadership we can employ or may encounter in our day-to-day lives at Prep. Sarah Cooper, Dean of Studies and 8th-grade history teacher, reflected that leadership is taken on by a group in saying leaders, “cannot act alone, but he or she can set a tone that others might want to emulate.” She implies that it is not about what power you hold over someone, rather “a leader has the potential for influence, a gift to be taken seriously. To me, it means being honest and kind: expressing what one believes or knows while also imagining how the person listening is receiving this information.” Modeling good behavior can be half the battle, treating your peers kindly in order to facilitate a more open community. But we have all been there when our ideas are not met with such an open mind. Conflict, this month’s topic, can seem to be the enemy of working in a group. However, rather than seeing conflict as a barrier, Ms. Cooper remarks, “Disagreement can also open up a crack for understanding, especially if the people disagreeing are willing to talk without ego getting in the way.” It can be impossible – especially during a fight – to keep an open mind, but, in listening to Ms. Cooper’s words should move past that to achieve a resolution and allow growth for our own opinions. Overall, she reflects positively on conflict, saying, “Conflict often leads to clarity, too. And, on the best teams, trust is so integral to their functioning that conflict is a form of respect and leads to better decisions.” We were able to learn from Ms. Cooper in viewing each conflict as an opportunity for growth rather than a setback. Ms. Cooper reflected “the act of leadership involves self-reflection and relentless questioning.” Next time you come face to face with conflict focus on the bigger picture and how resolution can bring you closer to discovering who we all are as leaders.