Connections to the understanding of agency in leadership can be made when we think of
the teacher and student roles in conjunction with those of the leader and follower.
Leadership models cannot be just about creating leaders, though leaders are an
easier product to sell. It must include those who follow. In the ways Felman and hooks
reposition the relationship between teacher and student, attention must be paid to the
leader and follower dynamic. Kellerman (2012) says it is important to follow with
“intelligence and integrity” (p. 172) though not much industry attention is given to
followers. As subjects, followers are not differentiated, but seen as homogeneous. How
can you lead a group when you perceive the members as the same? Seeing the ways in
which Felman and hooks recognize the humanity in their students, it is just as important
that we think about the many ways leaders and followers are alike and different. That is
the point, to push the boundaries, to declare that education and leadership can look and
feel different. We can realize “the classroom, with all of its limitations, remains a
location of possibility” (hooks, 1994, p. 207).
By letting go of a goal of mastery and allowing the process to become central to
learning and leadership, both hooks and Felman define agency through possibility and
connection to their students. By letting go of an idea of the perfect unified leadership
theory and investing in a more deliberate understanding of intersectional subjectivity and
agency in leadership, we can rethink many of the assumptions this industry is built upon.
The consumerist nature of neoliberal education addresses and reinforces a
singular notion of leader, which highlights problems concerning our understandings of
leadership theory. By calling for a nuanced, feminist assessment of leadership theory-