In looking at my previous post about my core personality and leadership style, and now reading about the 5 C’s of commitment, connection, compassion, consistency, and competency (and then the ability to communicate those) I feel like I do strive to authentically display these traits. My two strengths would likely be in commitment and competency, as I strive to be very committed to a team and their outcomes and also develop a strong ability in what I am trying to do, teach or lead at while still being able to admit shortcomings, say “I don’t know” or ask for help. My weakest point would likely be in compassion, as I tend to get tunnel vision to my perspective and the end goals I have in mind, and get very disappointed if others do not live up to expectations, despite the challenges they may be facing or have faced. Luckily in the world of teaching, one is constantly reminded that compassion is a necessary trait, as many student stories are filled with challenge, neglect or heart-break. I enjoyed the five readings as each challenged traditional thinking in some way, causing one to mentally adjust or defend your thinking regarding leadership accordingly. The following is a chosen quote from each of the five articles and a short explanation of how it relates to my leadership philosophy or personality.
Quote 1 - Leadership is less one person doing something to another (with their more or less willing compliance). Rather, it is a process whereby leaders and non-leaders accomplish each other through dynamics of interaction in which mutual influence is always present. (Pg 16-17)
Tourish, D. (2014). Leadership, more or less? A processual, communication perspective on the role of agency in leadership theory.
I felt that this quote was most relevant to my style of leader involving the function of a group as a team. Whether one is the player, captain or coach, (Student, teacher or principal) each has a role in creating a successful experience and reaching specific goals. In developing goals, it is important that they are meaningful and important to all parties involved. “Through dynamics of interaction in which mutual influence is always present” leaders may set specific goals such as to win or game or have all students learn long division, but within this goal there is constant adjustment and communication to reach the outcome. You must react to each player’s situation, the opponent or specific learning challenges contained within the classroom (or as one fellow student blogged: weapons and police presence..). Furthermore if all the focus is on the leader or sub-leaders it does not prioritize the importance non-leaders and their role in reaching the goal, whereas the players, students or even workers are one of the most important factors to all success!
Quote 2 - One area that is being developed as an alternative view and that better appreciates context as well as emotions of becoming and being a leader is the move towards aesthetic and artistic methods of management and leadership learning and development (Gayá Wicks and Rippin, 2010; Hansen and Bathhurst, 2011; Taylor et al., 2002). This use of non-cognitive methods such as art enables participants to access intuitions, feelings, stories, improvisation, experience, imagination, active listening, awareness in the moment, novel words and empathy (Taylor and Ladkin, 2009), which contribute to a wider appreciation of leadership in and of organisations. (Pg 3)
Edwards, G., Elliott, C., Iszatt-White, M., & Schedlitzki, D. (2013). Critical and alternative approaches to leadership learning and development. Management Learning, 44(1), 3-10.
I chose this quote as pertinent to my leadership style, not because I feel that it embodies a strength of mine, but because I feel like developing more “aesthetic and artistic methods of management” is important to my continued development as a leader. Being a very number oriented person, that sees the world mostly in black and white, I often need to remind myself of all the subtleties, personal experiences and gray areas of what it takes to be a good leader, teacher, parent or citizen. It is often not the marks, or tests, or graphs that create meaningful change but the smaller statements, understandings, listening and empathy that really influence people. I have improved in this area, as I have gained experience within the classroom, school, coaching, and community groups, but it is definitely not the most natural state of thinking for me. I understand its importance but really need to consistently focus on practicing it as a leader.
Quote 3 - She is ready to throw her all into moving in the right direction, if only that direction would stop changing continually. Jennifer, in short, is not “resistant to change” but “resistant from change.” She is struggling to work effectively in a company exhibiting all the symptoms of repetitive change syndrome. (Pg 2)
Abrahamson, E. 2004. Avoiding Repetitive Change Syndrome. MITSloan Management Review. Winter 2004.
I chose the above quote from the third reading as I felt it is often an accurate description of how change in leadership or focus within companies and schools happens. I really sometimes do not know what the end goal is in high schools: make good citizens, create positive data, have students earn credits or high marks, or teach them curricular skills or life skills. As we have just finished Semester one classes, I feel looking back, that in the end marks and credits were all that were important to parents and students and I feel the learning of material and being a more knowledgeable person should have been way more important over the last 5 months! As a Core leader of a team, I feel I should know exactly what the goal of all our work is, but this answer is very difficult to provide. I remember working on a grain farm in University and I loved the simplicity of keeping the equipment maintained and working hard to get the crops planted and then to get the grain in the bin and sold to the world market. There was a million little jobs to do but the end goal was clear and this helped focus our efforts much of the time. In my classroom or shop, I feel able to focus on teaching specific students, specific concepts and motivating them to work hard and learn to the best of their ability, but outside of the classroom or for students who struggle everything become less clear and I do not know where to focus my efforts, adaptations, phone calls, emails, engagement strategies or a myriad of other professional options. The focus or school goals often change year to year, or with new administration, student populations, or classroom diversities. As the quote states, I am not “resistant to change” but often feel “resistant from change.”
Quote 4 - What the school looks like seems to count for more than the actual education. The people who run schools end up allotting less time and resources to teaching and learning, and more to image-polishing exercises. Schools become machines for persuading others that children are getting a good education, rather than institutions for educating children.
Excerpts from: Alvesson, M., & Spicer, A. (2016). The stupidity paradox: The power and pitfalls of functional stupidity at work. Profile Books.
This was by far the most engaging article for me to read, as I related to many of the concepts it presented about mindsets and the stupidity we all confront, accept or grow to embrace in our careers and life. I had numerous quotes chosen but settled on the one above regarding the appearance of education being more important than actual education as I feel this often surfaces in our educational institutions. Often regular good old learning can be slow and unexciting, but it will teach you many intricate skills about grammar, complex mathematics and important historical facts. This also makes students good test writers which creates good data provincially, nationally and internationally. However, many student lack basic real world problem solving skills that could be better developed in project based learning or inquiry based activities, that are harder to plan, implement or evaluate. I was once told by a colleague that the folks above us at the Board care more about the appearance of education as opposed to the actual education of students. Over the years, I have seen this played out with many standardized assessments and focus on flashy activities or data as opposed to authentic learning. As a leader, I attempt to not share this philosophy, that beyond good public relations the real importance lies in a wide variety of activities and evaluation, creating caring engaged citizens who care about learning and others, and this to me is more important than marks, credits or impressiveness to others.
Leaders organized work in a relaxed fashion and one set off to do something when everyone was ready and able to do it. Pg 17
Bryant, M. 1998. Cross-Cultural Understandings of Leadership. Educational Management and Administration, 26(1) 7-20.
I am a very punctual person and numerically oriented as I mentioned above. The idea of schools with bells at specific times, lunch hours, outcomes over semesters, credits and timelines make sense to me and I enjoy functioning within these boundaries and constraints. In being a leader, accepting that other people and cultures can be very different in their understanding and interpretation of these concepts regarding time is something I strive to not make an issue of. So I chose this quote as another goal in developing my leadership, to have expectations regarding punctuality but also be understanding in the perspectives of others who have a different worldview or value regarding time. Furthermore, in schools with students it is often the ones who struggle to attend regularly or punctually that need support and understanding the most as opposed to ridicule or ostracization.
I thoroughly enjoyed trying to establish my core personality and leadership style in the previous blog, and then swiftly having it really challenged with these five articles as it really created meaningful dialogue in my head about leadership. The Buddhist concept of duality comes to mind in analyzing much of what it takes to be a leader, where there is no black or white (good / bad, right / wrong) just what you should do in the present, and that might change if you confronted a similar situation in the future. One must constantly learn to adjust, communicate, learn and develop as a leader, or follower to stay current and meaningfully involved with those around them, otherwise you may become just another “stupid” follower who leads.