Much has been written about leaders and leadership; yet, precise definitions are elusive.  Leadership is one and probably the most important of the seventeen Critical Performance Categories (CPC) in which the quality of performance can be monitored even as performance improvement activities are conducted. 


While most analyses of leadership focus on the behaviors, thoughts, and impact of formal, successful leaders, leadership in clinical practice is a collective effort among board members, employees, students, and parents to change personal and organization behaviors to push achievement higher. 


One role of formal leaders is to prepare others for leadership. In clinical practice, board members, employees, and students have responsibility to exercise leadership behaviors individually and in groups to foster growth across the seventeen CPC and among internal and external stakeholders. 


Another role of formal leaders is to implement the “Leadership Agenda,” that guides the entire organization through the processes and protocols of clinical practice in the pursuit of performance improvement. The Leadership Agenda is implemented both within the organization hierarchy and in the organization “white space,” between and among traditional roles. Leadership practice is incomplete without a vision of how it connects all efforts to improve student achievement. The components of the leadership agenda make that possible.


Leaders are needed in all job categories to implement the leadership agenda and to use the seventeen CPC to illuminate activities and behaviors that support performance improvement and those that are barriers to it. Leaders make decisions in clinical practice to improve performance by utilizing what is known about the performance health levels in all of the CPC.