Reflections on Leadership Characteristics

Interview Summaries

My first interview, conducted through social media, was with a professor. The professor teaches at a university in Taiwan. They have invited me to co-teach in their class. Initially, I spoke about American culture. The professor is involved in their class and pauses after complex English phrases to redeliver them in Chinese.

The professor has observed my teaching style while co-teaching.  They commented on my goal as a resource and education facilitator and perceived my use of humor to tackle challenging subjects with students.  The professor has discerned my desire for a student-focused class that motivates me by cultivating a teamwork mindset.  I want students to come to class and feel free to comment and that their words are valued.  The professor spotted that as I was teaching.

The second interview I conducted, face-to-face, was with my husband, a techie.  We have been married for a couple of decades.  He has seen me grow with time.  While he is not a professional educator, he does volunteer teaching.  My husband has had to take on leadership roles in programming projects at work, during his volunteer projects, and organizing social events. 

My husband sees me as a flexible leader who can, as he says, “pivot quickly” to create a plan B. From his vantage point, I value the input of those around me by listening to their suggestions and incorporating them into the big picture. He finds it tasking to pinpoint one example of my leadership. But he quickly came to event planning, both small and large. He commented on my desire to research and plan. He believes this has carried over into my teaching and helped me hone my skills. 

The final interview I conducted, face-to-face, was with a teacher. She is a cram school English teacher in Taiwan and has taught in Taiwan for the past three years. In the past three years, she has observed many English teachers in the classroom and volunteers. She has seen solid leadership examples in several cram schools and those only holding positional authority. The teacher also witnessed solid leadership outside the classroom while engaging in volunteer work in the community.

She sees me as an organized leader with empathy and enjoys learning. She feels that my love of learning helps me want to share what I have learned with my students. The teacher sees me as a clear-minded educator with a vision. She believes that this is how I stay focused on the bigger picture. She recognizes that this takes patience. She sees this quality in me. She mentioned an example of my leadership when referring to some of our volunteer work. I had set out to aid someone in getting around Taiwan.

Interview Analysis

It can be intimidating when you are waiting to see how others view your leadership or if you even have leadership skills.  But it was reassuring that the professor could detect how I valued the students’ opinions.  As a leader inside and outside the classroom, I do not want anyone afraid to express their thoughts.  My husband recognized that and commented that I do not insist solely on my opinion.  I know what it feels like to have someone make you feel like your voice is not valuable.  The teacher has noticed.  She brought up my empathy for those that I lead.

  What benefit does a teacher bring to students when they talk and talk, but no one understands them?  That is always a fear of mine.  I do not want my students to leave lost and confused.  At that point, I have only led them down a dark path.  The teachers words instilled confidence in me that those under my lead receive needed instructions.  The professor confirmed that I led students with clear instructions.


Plan of Action 

We all work hard to do our best.  Most of the time, we do this without considering whether someone sees what we are doing.  We do what we do because that is who we are.  So, to sit down and hear that what I am trying to do is being observed was a pleasant surprise.  It is also invigorating.  I feel recharged to do more.  It is not for the fame or the glory but with the reassurance that it is appreciated. 

I have learned that even the little things matter.  We have been reading about teachers that do small informal things to motivate one another.  I cannot forget that this is leadership, too.  So when the teacher mentioned the individual who needed help navigating around Taiwan, I was surprised that she brought that up.  But she is right.  That is leadership.  So I cannot dismiss the little things I do as a just whatever,” they count too.

That has recharged me to do more.  I know that I have room for improvement.  There is a phrase – the room for improvement is the largest room.  My eyes are opened by what I read. I see that even little things can be tweaked and bring about improvement.  I can sincerely compliment others on just even one thing to lead them to improve.  If I picked a different person to do that with each day, to give one compliment to, seven lives have been brightened and led them to continue to improve.  I want to make this an active plan.

To be made aware that I touch people through the little and big tasks that I have endeavored in motivates me.  I enjoy helping others.  I do not care about the accolades.  For me, just knowing that it touched them is what matters.  So hearing the observations of these interviewers has motivated me to learn more and undertake more.


This was a challenge.  Grant it – it was all about me, so that should have made it easy.  But looking at yourself in a mirror is not always easy.  This undertaking was like a mirror.  Sometimes we shy away from mirrors, afraid to face what we know” we will see.  Other times we slowly and reluctantly approach a mirror, turning one way or another hoping for the best view of ourselves.  However, this task forced me to hand the mirror over to someone else so I could face it head-on.  I am happy I looked in the mirror.”  I am pleased with what I saw.  True, I did not see perfection, but despite that, it was an inspiring side of me.