Leadership During Transformation: EdcampYYC

On Friday, I’ve been invited to be a discussion facilitator on the topic of leadership during transformation at EdcampYYC (Calgary). The following information is posted as a session descriptor:

Leadership During Transformation

  • How do we lead effectively in an era of constant change and challenge?
  • Is Distributed Leadership an answer? If so, how do we build Distributed Leadership Networks built on collective responsibility and trust?
  • What is “The Teacher Effectiveness Framework and Instructional Leadership?”
  • How do we create a culture that promotes and demonstrates collaboration, innovation, and is supportive of teachers’ efforts to improve student learning?

To assist those who may be attending my session, I would like to throw some additional irons into the fire. So much of leadership today is about asking the right questions and isolating the real issue. Given that, I’d like to provide a few other thought provoking statements for reflection.

  1. Change requires participants to be allowed to make mistakes. Leaders must create an environment where risk taking is encouraged, allowing for teachers and students to be creative and innovative. They must also ensure that the risk is educated, calculated and not damaging in the least! Parents have a right not to have their children as the guinea pigs in educational transformation. Where lies the balance?
  2. I have often used the phrase, “The more responsibility is taken, the less accountability is required!” Leaders need to decide which responsibility to “give away” and which to keep? Furthermore, leaders have to understand who is willing to take on the responsibility- many in organizations claim they want the responsibility until it is given and then they quickly fade away. It is much easier to be directed and blame than to take responsibility and accept. Are you willing to take the responsbility?
  3. Another frequent motto from a planning or decision perspective is “Bottom up when possible, top down when necessary!” Leaders need to decide when decisions need to be made bottom up and when they are required to be top down? All decisions cannot be top down nor bottom up! There will be times for collaboration, consultation and directive decision making. When do you exercise each?
  4. Just as there is a continuum in our classrooms, there is a continuum in our staffs. Leaders need to address the needs of the early and late adopters to change. They must ensure that the early adopters don’t get too far ahead AND the late adopters don’t fall too far behind. How do you support and encourage both ends of the spectrum?  
  5. Trust must always be initiated from the leader but it will only be solidified from those being led. Understand that often when you extend the hand of trust, it will be bitten. Each time it  is bitten, it is more difficult to stick it out as far as the previous…but you must extend it! How do you extend your hand for trust?
  6. And finally, leadership during transformation is about learning. From Eric Hoffer, “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. the learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”  Leaders cannot rest on their laurels of being learned, we must be constantly learning, stretching our own minds in order to stretch others. What have you done lately to be seen as a learning leader?

The beauty of the edcamp experience is that we come together as both teacher and learner. What a great opportunity to engage our minds, reflect on our roles, challenge our assumptions and forward our goals.  See you in Calgary on Friday!  


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