The Interview project with Professor, Nazarbayev University (NU) was interesting and important experience as we have discussed and learned many crucial issues in the field of education. Professor gave the definition of the notion “Leadership” from own perspective. Speaking about a leader, Professor mentioned attributes and qualities an effective leader should possess. Professor pointed out the connection between leadership and management emphasizing the “family resemblance” between these two notions. Particularly important and interesting to me was Professor’s opinion about leadership skills being inborn or obtained, support of collegial model of leadership and recommendations given in the end of the interview.
According to Professor (“Personal communication”), leadership is a natural ability to implement projects in different levels when a leader and his/her team are equally involved in this process. It was interesting to realize that Professor shares my viewpoint about what attributes and qualities an effective leader should have. In Professor’s point of view, a good leader should know “where you are, where you want to go and how to get there” (“Personal communication”). Moreover, a leader should be able to motivate and lead his/her team members. Much attention Professor paid to strategic vision of a leader saying that a leader should possess an ability to think strategically foreseeing future result of his/her plans. Here, Professor gave a good example of an effective leader in higher education saying, “Tim Raegan, the Dean of Graduate School of Education is someone with a lot of experience, very good leadership skills because he knows exactly what the situation of education is around the world. He also knows what is best, and how to best import education, what kind of reforms we need to put in place” (“Personal Communication”). I quite agree with Professor because we observe that Dr. Reagan is intelligent and possess such important personal qualities for a good leader as openness to students and staff, responsibility and decency.
One thing that was of great interest for me was Professor’s words about inborn or obtained skills of being a leader. Professor believes that “If you are not born a leader, you cannot be a leader. To be a leader takes some specific skills and talents” (“Personal communication”). Interestingly, Professor’s opinion contradicts Dr. Sagintayeva’s, Director of NU GSU opinion who, in her turn, is sure that it is possible to become a leader. The only thing you need is to have some leader skills, be responsible and take professional training courses in Kazakhstan or even abroad to improve your leader skills and enrich knowledge. Here, I would agree with Dr. Sagintayeva as I myself had useful experience of being a leader of a big education department in college. This work helped me to develop my leader skills, work with other people and taught me to be worthy of being called a leader.
What impressed me next, Professor’s focus on collegiality, which in his words, means solving problems and overcoming challenges collectively to make right decisions. From my experience, I can add that only working collaboratively you can achieve success in everything you do.
In the end of the interview, Professor was asked to give some good advice from own experience. The advice to learn to work in teams, listen to other people’s opinion, respect each member in the team, make any decisions collegially and be ready to accept any changes in working place will be helpful for our future career and the whole life.
In conclusion, although it was not easy to conduct an interview, we felt as real researchers being excited and privileged. This project was unforgettable experience in terms of important in education issues as being an effective leader, connection between leadership and management, idea about inborn and obtained leadership skills and collegial model of leadership.
In your opinion, what are the attributes and qualities of an effective leader? And do you think leadership skills are inborn or obtained?
Thank you in advance!