Saturday, July 24, 2010

Reflections on Leadership

         Based on the readings over the last two weeks I define transformational leadership as a leadership style that is focused on creating change. When a leader wants to make a transformational change in a school he/she starts by creating an empowered culture in the school. As teachers feel more comfortable with the power to make change they begin to see problems in a new light. Problems move from being obstacles that someone else needs to remove to opportunities for change. As a culture of transformational change takes over the school it is hoped that the change that happens will be greater than the sum of the parts of the change that has been implemented.
As a teacher my philosophy of education included a strong student-centered classroom. In a nutshell this philosophy can be described as students learn when they do. Studying transformational leadership, servant-leadership, steward leadership, I see these styles of leadership to be a natural extension of my teaching in the classroom. A leader should try to empower their followers in such a way that they become leaders in their own right. Ultimately the leader becomes as Thomas Sergiovanni said a “leader of leaders” (2007).
This decentralized leadership, where power is spread out among the staff, requires strong communications, trust, and highly skilled individuals. The technology of the 21st century makes this style of leadership easier. Leaders build trust by modeling the actions we want, doing the work we expect, and being transparent. We build strong communication through being accessible. I sometimes feel I know administrators from around the world as well as I know my own principal. I am in this leadership program specifically because of administrators and other leaders whom I communicate with on twitter and blogs, but for the most part I have never met. My personal growth, skill in the classroom, has accelerated because of my ability to share and observe various educational leaders around the world. I have been inspired to start implementing some of the changes in my own work.
For me the power of technology isn't in what is allows us to do, but rather in how it allows us to share. In the same way leaders aren't the people who are best at a specific job, but rather are the people who are the best at motivating people to do the job. As a school leader I don't intend on managing everyone in the school rather I intend to manage the teachers and staff and let them have the power to manage their individual sections of the school.

Fullan, M. "Leadership for the 21st century: Breaking the bonds of dependency." Center for
         Development and Learning. Retrieved July 15, 2010, from
Inc, Jossey-Bass, & Fullan, Michael. (2007). The Jossey-bass reader on educational leadership.
         San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc Pub.
Anderson L. S.. (Producer). (2008, January 1). Episode 21: 2 CEOs talk about leadership
         [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from
Marzano, R. J., Waters, T, & McNulty, B. (2005). School leadership that works from research to
         results. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

1 comment:

Lynne said...

I agree that your student-centered approach lays a strong foundation for the type of leadership style you will exhibit as a school leader. If at the core your philosopy is the "whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts" then you grasp the power of collaboration and teamwork--key elements of transformational leadership. This style you have adopted will serve you well as put processes in place to promote a "leader of leaders" culture.