I can honestly say that I did not perceive myself to be a future leader when I began to pursue a career as a professional school counselor (PSC). Nor would I have identified myself as such growing up. But now, some years down the line, I don’t see how one cannot be a leader when working as a PSC. In this day in age, it is imperative to been seen as an educational leader, a change agent, a collaborator. But, what comes to mind is “how do we create and teach leadership in counselor education programs?” Just as people ask “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and often respond, “Everything.” The same applies to leadership.
According to Northouse (2013), a leadership is a process by which an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. Using this definition, I find myself gravitating towards others who are leaders and offer their expertise in a certain area. For instance, I have a colleague that I consult with who is currently a counselor educator. I turn to her when I am inquiring about issues related to her expertise. Similarly, I consult with a retired educator who returned to the workforce as a consultant for a county office of education. She is not only an expert in her field, but also a great example of a leader.
Now, some people may say that it’s scary being a leader, and on one hand, I agree. It can be difficult to go against status quo. But, on the other hand, it can be exciting to take on a leadership role and inevitably have an impact on necessary or needed change. Being a change agent is my personal motivating force. Recently, I have come to realize that while I have been a great PSC and have reached many students and families, I want to make even more of an impact. As such, this driving force has led to me thinking about the importance of leadership. No matter how small the gesture is, it is nonetheless important.
So when someone asks me “What’s leadership got to do with your job,” I will confidently say “everything!”
Sandi Logan is school counselor and currently a doctoral student in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at University of Florida. Prior to pursuing further studies, she worked as an elementary and middle school counselor in Southern California.