Leadership Styles

There is the leadership of a Jack Welch and the leadership of a Joe Torre. Some operate with big sticks while others mindfully listen. There is the leadership of the missionary and the leadership of the visionary. Some are managers who administer and evaluate. And others are learners, who inspire and provoke. In the realm of leadership, each situation calls for its own response. The only size that fits all is who you are and knowing what the moment requires. Logarithms are for mathematicians. Leadership is idiosyncratic and at times improvisational. There is no script. It requires at any given moment that you draw on everything you know: from the playbook of life to the scriptures of the heart. Just because you dress in black and call your leadership entrepreneurial doesn’t mean you can stop greeting people in the hall. Leading is a verb and leadership is a noun. How you modify the two defines the confidence you elicit or the fear you create. I learned leadership through looking at myself from the inside out. I still am.


About David Penberg

David Penberg is an urban and international educational leader. He has held leadership roles in non-profits, community-based organizations, independent, international and charter schools, and in higher education. He has a deep grounding in progressive education, the cross-cultural experience and leadership development. Dr. Penberg has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He was a fellow in the Carey Leadership Program at Bank Street College (1982-84) and Klingenstein Fellow for International School Heads at Teachers College, Columbia University (2008). He was the founding director of the nationally recognized Liberty Partnerships Program at Bank Street College. Since then, Penberg has held posts as Head of Studies and Head of School in international schools in Mexico City and Barcelona. He was most recently the Head of School at Innovate Manhattan Charter School in the lower east side and is an adjunct at Pace University’s Teaching Fellows program. He abides by Auden's dictum "We were put on earth to make things."
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One Response to Leadership Styles

  1. One of the most profound descriptions of Leadership I have read. Bravo and thank you!
    The comparisons are “sot-on” and inspiring.
    As a 16 year educator and administrator I have just accepted my first job abroad, in China. I am perusing articles and blogs for confidence and reassurance that I have made the right decision. Your piece is amazing.

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