What Level Teacher Leader Are You? – Anniversary Edition

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This is a special anniversary edition of LMScast. In this 100th episode Chris Badgett challenges you to ask yourself, what level teacher leader are you? Listen up to find out how to improve teaching, training, publishing, and administering membership sites online.

Chris tells why leadership is an important topic for him. Not only has he been at the forefront of LMScast since its beginning as the support podcast for the LifterLMS development platform, he’s also the author of the book, Outdoor Leadership Secrets. As you begin to understand what kind of teacher leader you are, begin by thinking from your students’ perspective.

There are several levels you can operate from, beginning with positional. This means you are basically perceived as the leader of your class simply because you occupy the role of the teacher. From this level you can lead by positive or negative influence. Naturally positive reinforcement is the best way, though occasionally negative persuasion may be necessary to reinforce consequences for negative student performance.

At the next level of leadership your authority is established by your credentials: your degree of certification, training, experience, and track record for success. Demonstrating what you’ve done earns you respect and validates your expertise. The highest level of leadership is reference, which is your reputation and precedes you so that your students already know who you are and what you’ve done. The greatest likelihood is that you actually embody a combination of these levels that form your identity as a teacher and a leader.

Knowing your personal answer to what level teacher leader you are and where you stand in your journey gives you a solid platform to level up from. Investing in yourself first makes you a better teacher and leader, with a reputation that will attract the best students to your courses. And we’ll be here to continue helping you do that for another 100 episodes and beyond.

Post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Episode Transcript

Chris: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and in this episode, we’re going to be talking about becoming a teacher leader and how to improve as someone who teaches on the internet or helps publish others who teach on the internet through online training and courses and membership sites, and that sort of thing.

Before we get into that this is a special episode – this is episode number 100 of LMScast. We’ve come along way, we’ve been on the air for almost 2 years now, and I just wanted to celebrate that milestone with you. Thank you if you’ve been with us since the beginning or if you’re new and just finding out about us, thank you for being a part of the LMScast and the LifterLMS story. If you’re using our software for creating online courses called LifterLMS, we did it, we made it to a 100 episodes, and we’re not stopping. We’re going to keep going, and at the end of this episode I’m going to share some more with you about the future of LMScast and what to expect in the coming months and years.

Leadership is the topic that’s really important to me, I come from a background in outdoor leadership. I’m actually a publish author on leadership I have a book on Amazon called “Outdoor Leadership Secrets.” Leadership is one of those things where when you start unpacking it, it’s really, it can become your life’s work, something you can never truly perfect and you can always improve and keep traveling down that road.

This episode is about what kind of teacher leader are you, and how can you improve? I think it’s really important to look at this from the perspective of the learner or the student. Also, just be aware that if you’re teaching a group online or in person or both, some of those students or learners may perceive you a little differently and that’s okay. Those you can really be perceived as 5 types of leaders or experts or your ability as a teacher. The lowest level is what I called “Positional”, this means you’re just in the role, you’re in the job, so you perceived as a leader but it’s really only because you’re there and you’re the teacher.

For example, just the fact of the student come into a classroom either in personal or online, if you walk in, you are the teacher leader because you’re the teacher, that’s your position or that’s your job. That’s the lowest level and it’s an achievement to become a teacher or instructor expert or online educator in some way. It doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s just the lowest starting point.

Then after that you can lead positionally through coercion or punishment which is a necessarily a positive thing but that’s things like, “If you don’t take my course or do my training or do the homework, there’s a punishment. You won’t get X or there’ll be some kind of punishment.” There’s like negative reinforcement that reinforces your ability to lead or your authority. That’s also at a lower level. On top of that in area I prefer to get into is the reward based or positive reinforcement, so if you take my training or if you take my course you get this benefit whether that’s on monitory or it helps, there are some other reward that makes me an effective leader teacher or instructor.

If you get in front of the room in the online space or in person’s space, you can lead and become an effective leader with the mix of positive reward or negative punishment type reinforcement. It’s important to look also at punishment is not necessarily bad like having consequences for not doing the work or not listening or not doing the training, it’s an okay thing. Overall, in my opinion, it’s better to live predominantly with positive reinforcement or reward based teaching.

The next level is you gain authority and your ability to lead comes from what you’ve invested in yourself, what kind of degree or training have you been through. If you are a Navy SEAL and you’ve invested that much and you’re teaching somebody about endurance or physical fitness, you’re going to have a lot of authority and expertise and you’re going to have an easier job, let’s say, if you’re creating an online course about body weight fitness training at home. If you’re an ex-Navy SEAL. Having expertise where you’ve really invested in yourself and it’s not just what you say but it’s also what you’ve done in the past.

That gives you a lot of authority and that gives you the ability to gain respect, but also to really teach you effectively because you’ve had your skin in the game, your time in the trenches. That’s expertise. In the highest level is what I call reference leadership so that is more subtle but it’s everything you do is everything you say is the reputation that proceeds you as an online educator. What does that impression come together? Are you a legend before you’re even step into the room like, how do people refer to you like it’s not even stuff that you actively try to do, it’s just that literally your reputation proceeds you.

What comes from a combination of all those things. Think about a reference position and leadership being that, “Okay, you have the position, you have some negative consequences if your people don’t go to your training or they’re not a good fit for your program, you have reward based things going on in your material,” you’re also an expert yourself, you’ve got the degree, the life experience, the training. Now, when you package that all together into just your identity in who you are that’s what the most powerful form of leadership.

To give you a good example of that, let’s think of Stephen King, Stephen King is a fiction writer an author and he was teaching online course about how to craft the story or how to become a professional writer. Everything he has done in his career and being a multi-time bestselling author, and just living that life of that guy who does the grind, who writes every single day no matter what he is the epitome of what it means to be a writer. If I was to asked you to think of a successful writer there’s a good chance Stephen King might be the name who pops into your mind.

If you were to teach a course on writing or storytelling he would come out that with the really strong teacher, leadership quality. I hope you enjoyed this episode on LMScast about teaching and leadership and to think about where you are at on your journey as a teacher and I encourage you to try to keep leveling up, keep investing in your own training and personal development and expertise, and to really embody what it is that represents what you teach because that’s the strongest form of teaching and leadership and allows you to attract the best students and really create that elite level training.

Also just to celebrate again with this maybe 100 episodes of LMScast. I just want to let you know that we’re not going away, we’re going to keep doing this, I’m going to work hard to start getting more guests on the show so that we can get other experts, we’re going to have relevant material and we can jam on topics around that. Looking forward to just serving in more detail with your needs to continually evolve as an online course creator or membership site owner, or learning management system, administrator or a person.

Thank you again for watching this episode of LMScast. If you’re feeling that, would really appreciate a review on iTunes or leave a comment if you’re watching this on YouTube on the YouTube video, I’d really appreciate that. We’ll catch you in the next episode.

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