Leadership Transition: What's In a Name?

Let me ask you a question.  What do you do?

I am a teacher.

I am also the Math Department Chair at my school.  Did this change how you think about me?

I have been a teacher for 25 years.  I have been the Math Department Chair for 25 days.  Now what do you think about me?

In the last 25 days I have been thinking a lot about leadership and how I am going to excel in my new role.  And I find myself questioning my abilities.  I have led hundreds students to success, but leading teenagers is far different than leading adults and so I wonder, how can I lead?

In the last 25 years I know I have served as a leader in a variety of ways.  I have encouraged my colleagues to excel by introducing them to new teaching and learning techniques as coordinator of professional development at my school for a decade.  I spent five years leading our school toward technological resources by investigating and presenting sessions on dozens of technological tools including smart boards, clicker systems, tablet computers, video conferencing, blogs, social media, and Google apps.  My colleagues now use them all.  I have served as the faculty representative to the board of trustees, written school policy, mentored new faculty, and coached dozens of women training for triathlons.  I have led.

But through the years as I led various groups, I never really had a title, or at least I never had one that did anything more than describe my job so that everyone knew who should do the work.  I never had any money, never oversaw any personnel, and never had any mandate other than to do the best I could, and so I did.

But now I have this title and a budget and a team that needs to work together to be effective and still there is the mandate that I must do the best I can.  So as I begin this journey and a series of blog posts that describe my adventure, I am asking for your thoughts as a leader in your respective community.  My question, in all sincerity is this. What do you do?  Does a title matter?


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