Posted by: leish79 | October 7, 2013

Reflecting on why …

Traditional leadership includes implied authority and is a top-down approach. Within schools the traditional understanding of the educational hierarchy deems that teachers, including the teacher librarian (TL), follow directions made by the Principal. Looking at Simon Sinek’s (2009) How Great Leaders Inspire Action, teachers and TL’s have always known what the outcome of following the direction of the Principal is – student learning. The how to achieve this has always been simple – quality teaching. The why appears to have been missing from the traditional approach although teachers and TL’s may have been keeping to their own beliefs as to why they entered the profession.

When considering the role of TL as a leader, Sinek (2009) identifies that approaching the task from the why rather than what will earn more followers than the traditional approach. For a TL who has no implied leadership and can often be viewed as having less leadership than classroom teachers due to their removal from the classroom environment, exerting leadership could be difficult and viewed as working from the bottom up. Sinek (2009) suggests that leaders hold a position of authority however those who lead inspire people. Therefore it would be prudent for TL to look to inspiration or “why” as their starting point for exerting leadership amongst their peers.

The starting point for determining the “why” is determining what makes the TL unique, what does the TL do within the school. For me on my journey as a TL in training, there are many things that come to mind when I consider this. Focusing on the what of the TL my blog post from 24 March 2013 identified that the role of the TL is varied, with many different responsibilities exercised at different points in time. Referring back to this reminds me of the varied role of the TL, but doesn’t necessarily bring me to the why.

Attempting to explain the why of the TL continues to be difficult for me to express. I stopped to consider what was behind my desire to become a TL and I always came back to the what. Articulating why I chose to become a TL rather than what a TL does eludes me right now, however it’s clearly worth pursuing.


Sinek, S. (2009). How great leaders inspire action. Retrieved from


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