Tim Dohrer: Leading with Kindness

In a quiet office overlooking Northwestern University’s autumn-tinted campus, Dr. Tim Dohrer is quietly inspiring the new wave of teacher-leaders.

Leadership is a skill for all. Whether it takes the form of coaching, parenting, or teaching – whether it occurs in the boardroom, on the field, or at home – leadership is both necessary and evolving. Tim is an expert. He is sharing that expertise through a program he recently created, the Teacher Leadership Program at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy. The program “provides teachers with a space to learn, practice, and enact real leadership that will transform their classrooms, schools, and communities.”

Among many lessons in the podcast we recorded together, Tim shared that leadership shapes to its context, meets the needs of those being led, keeps a specific direction in mind, and includes a healthy dose of kindness.

That’s right. Kindness.

Tim leans into his life heart first. It has taken him quite far, including Principal of one of the nation’s top schools and Director of the Masters in Education program at an elite University. Kindness is not only the correct ethical step, but it colors all subsequent steps. Whether you are influencing a classroom, a family, or a business, try kindness – the rest of the pieces just might fit into place.

Check out a few notes/responses from the Good Athlete Project team.

Janzen Harding: Listening to Dr. Dohrer and Jim discuss social emotional learning as an integrative circle versus a continuum provides an enlightening model which supports a wholistic view of personal and social development.

I love Tim’s approach to leading with kindness. The encouragement to err on the side of kindness over toughness as a coach or educator is not only supported by the research on the efficacy of leading with kindness but also by the testimony and relationships of the vast number of students and staff who Tim has taught, coached, or led.

Tim’s notion of erring on the side of kindness over toughness resonates with me as an educator and coach and further affirms my belief that relationship is at the heart of SEL and personal development.

Joe Lim: Tim Dohrer shows that students learn in different ways and that we have to find which methods work the most effectively. I especially liked when he used Dan Siegel’s “Hand Model” of the brain as an example of how creativity in teaching can be effective.

Nick Yustin summed up the spirit of the conversation when citing his favorite quote from the episode… “our whole purpose in existing is helping others.”

Tune in to our conversation with Tim HERE, share far and wide, and let us know what you think.

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