Leaders, educational and otherwise, affect their worlds like pebbles dropped in water – with ripples spreading wider and wider. In the last week it seems that I have come across a large number of posts on twitter and blogs I read on the idea of educational leadership.
As the world of education continues to evolve and change the need for leaders with varied skill sets is ever increasing. The image above depicts eight skills that the modern leader has and I am certain there are far more. Some of the highlights from the last week…
Principal, Eric Sheninger in his blog this week “Be the Change You Want to See in Education,” outlines some of the reforms that he feels fortunate to be a part of leading:
“(E)ach of us has the capacity to initiate positive change in order to create a teaching and learning culture that pushes our students to think critically, unleash their creativity, actively solve problems, promotes service, and inspires students to challenge themselves. This is the type of reform that I want to be a part of. Thankfully, this is my reality.”
Obviously, the culture Sheninger talks about is, at least partially, the result of his strong leadership (he is a good follow on twitter too – @NMHS_Principal).
In my ongoing quest to manage the vast amount of information on Twitter I have set up an account on Summify and one day this gem popped up from 30 year veteran Middle School Principal, Mike McCarthy. “Ten Big Ideas for School Leadership,” was an interesting read as it outlined his idea for how to make school work. As a new school administrator I find much value in reading about others experience and how it might impact my ability to be an effective leader. McCarthy’s list is really good and covers many facets of great schools – it includes a couple of nuggets that I really liked and that I agree are essentially important for schools:
1.) Your School Must Be For All Kids 100 Percent of the Time
8.) Have a Bias for Yes
10.) Large Change Needs to be Done Quickly
(Further explanations and points are outlined in the article)
* Content from jarche.com is protected under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
Another interesting blog that I came across this week was Harold Jarche’s blog entitled, “Leadership emerges from network culture.” In the blog he examines the ideas around how leadership has changed in the different organizational structures that exist in today’s world.
He asserts, “as networked, distributed workplaces become the norm, trust will emerge from environments that are open, transparent and diverse. As a result of improved trust, leadership will be seen for what it is; an emergent property of a balanced network and not some special property available to only the select few. This shift may give us the real democracy our organizations need to realize their full creative human potential.”
This idea that leadership is changing as structures do is not foreign to education as educators create, and are a part of PLNs that extend well beyond the walls of their schools and even districts. I need to look no further then my own experience developing a PLN and the fact that leaders emerge for me within that structure without formal titles or designations. In essence, I have created my own leadership team and I follow their lead with resources based on my own interests and desires.
The idea of informal leadership is also an important one to contemplate as schools and education evolves. How do leadership structures evolve informally and formally in and out of the classroom?
I have long believed that great coaches make great teachers and leaders because they have to look at big picture ideas, set a course for the group, and get buy in from others to make the journey a success. Carol Ann Tomlinson in the October issue of Educational Leadership has written an article entitled, “Every Teacher a Coach,” which she argues something very similar. She asserts that great coaches possess the following four traits and links them to good educational practice:
- Great coaches know their sport
- Great coaches develop players skills
- Great coaches are great motivators
- Great coaches are team builders
She finishes with the following statement, “Consider the four attributes of compelling coaching. They make a good case for coaching teachers to be distinguished coaches!”
(Sterling Nostedt and I during a U of R Cougar game – I helped coach the men’s team for seven seasons)
I am pretty confident in myself as a coach and would like to think that many of the characteristics that make me a good coach also work in my job as a teacher and administrator.
To me coaching and teaching work hand in hand…glad someone with some letters behind their name agrees – must make me right 8).
Perhaps, the best quotation I came across all week was from Tom Whitby on his blog discussing the “Generational Divide in Education” – he asserts that to improve teaching, learning and leading requires the following, “To be better teachers we must be better learners. To be better leaders we need to be better learners. This is not generational. Old and young alike can give up on learning. We see that every day.”
This is a big jump but following Whitby’s logic – by taking this class I am becoming a better leader…I like that! Thanks #eci831!!!
@gcouros posted a link to the following video which I thought was interesting – especially in light of my ongoing thoughts around leadership. There is certainly a difference between managing and leading and this video outlines 10 keys by Scott Williams.
I love the statement that leaders are in the business of developing more leaders…
I really found this video thought provoking and have revisited it a couple of times this week already.
“Leaders change the world!”
I want to do that…
What do you think about leadership in education? Do you aspire to make change happen in your world? How do you lead?
Lead, follow, or get out of the way…Thomas Paine