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Two Creighton Faculty Teach Authentic Storytelling is Vital for Educators

Feb 15, 2022
5 min Read
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Gretchen Oltman and Vicki Bautista

Teaching can be a stressful profession, and that has become clearer over the last few years.

Gretchen Oltman, JD, PhD, associate professor and program director, and Vicki Bautista, EdD, assistant professor and assistant director, at Creighton, recently co-authored the book, What's Your Leadership Story? A School Leader's Guide to Aligning How You Lead with Who You Are. It is published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

What's Your Leadership Story? | Book Cover

In the book, Oltman and Bautista walk you through the eight steps necessary to craft a personal leadership philosophy. It includes a reflective explanation of your leadership style, core values, mindset, and those real-life experiences that make you the leader you are today.

They point out that when you can authentically tell your story, your school community will know you, what you value, and why you make decisions the way you do. They hope you will rediscover a sense of purpose, renewal, and inspiration that may have slipped away amid the chaos of life. And build a stronger connection with those you lead and work beside.

In a letter to the reader at the beginning of the book, they sum up the purpose for their work, "There's something about you—someone working, teaching, and leading in today's school—that longs to be better understood, but the words are hard to find."

The World Health Organization has recognized burnout as an occupational phenomenon amongst educators. According to their latest revision of the International Classification of Diseases, chronic workplace stress is not being successfully managed and can present as burnout. Oltman believes that educators tend to suffer because they are in a helping profession and want to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

"They (teachers) are constantly seeking to teach, lead, assist, collaborate with, and inspire others in meaningful ways. Unfortunately, this type of dedication to their craft sometimes stands in the way of purposeful reflection – that is meant to help us, as professionals, remember why we are passionate about our jobs," Oltman said.

Bautista explains that the book allows leaders to reflect on their leadership story. "With this increased self-awareness, it makes it easier to approach leadership responsibilities. While creating a personal leadership philosophy won't solve stress or burnout, it can be a great first step in considering how to use your leadership story to lead in a way that brings happiness, energy and appreciation to position," she adds.

In a sense, you hold two identities: one based on your own lived experiences, mindset, core values, and personal leadership style, and another based on your title and perceived mainly by others. If these two identities conflict in some way, there can be problems.
— What’s Your Leadership Story? A School Leader’s Guide to Aligning How You Lead with Who You Are.

Oltman is an author, attorney, and educator. She's an associate professor in the Graduate School at Creighton, where she leads a program for students pursuing degrees in leadership. Before this, she was a high school English teacher, able to bring understanding and perspective to the program.

Bautista is an assistant professor in the School of Medicine serving as the assistant director for the MS program in Integrative Health and Wellness. She regularly presents on leadership and well-being, self-care, and personal leadership philosophies.

If you’re interested in learning more and putting theories into action, order the book from ASCD.org. Learn more about Creighton’s programs including those taught by Oltman and Bautista.