Reflective Critical Analysis – Blog post
Examining leadership in detail this semester has really developed my thinking on what leadership involves. It has been enlightening to consider leadership styles and the characteristics of each style and then apply these to my own workplace. Understanding the differing leadership styles such as transactional, transformational, instructional, situational and servant leadership and then considering the advantages and disadvantages of each style has really forced me to reflect on the styles of leadership I see used in our school and how these vary in effectiveness. It inevitably brings you to a consideration of your own leadership style and what is effective and what could be improved upon. An evaluation of my own leadership style revealed it to be a democratic and participative style (Lindsay, 2014, July 20). As someone who is not aggressive or overly assertive, it was confirmation that I consider others in my decisions, however a consideration of the aspects of the Leadership Capability Framework (Sergiovanni, 2005) revealed the range of skills in the personal, interpersonal, educational, strategic and organisational areas and reinforced the notion that I still have much to learn in this area.
The readings on leading and managing change were very enlightening, particularly the information about the ‘learning dip’ (Cameron and Green, 2004, p.15) and the idea of conscious and unconscious competence and incompetence (Cameron and Green, 2004, p.17). As we have installed and implemented a new Library Management system recently at school, we were feeling rather overwhelmed and incompetent trying to use it to perform standard library functions that had not required conscious thought on the previous LMS (Lindsay, 2014, July 31). Coming to an understanding of these levels of competence and consciousness really helped me to understand that the feelings of incompetence would pass as I grew more familiar with the LMS (Lindsay, 2014, Aug 18). Having ‘head knowledge’ like this can really make a difference to your thoughts and perceptions. Being able to anticipate these responses to new learning situations helps to avoid the feelings of frustration and failure – you are simply aware that continued perseverance will result in competence returning.
Another example of this was looking at the roles in change management – and determining whether you were ‘navigator’, a ‘critic’, a ‘victim’ or a ‘bystander’ (Change Management explained in 1 minute, n.d). Although no-one would like to perceive themselves as a critic, it does seem like that is often the initial reaction to change because we are critical of something we don’t understand, particularly if we don’t see the need for change. Being aware of this role and the negative impact it has on change may influence how people respond in future.
Change management has many facets but the human facet is clearly what makes the difference is orchestrating successful change. Tapscott’s principles for the Open World (2012), collaboration, transparency, sharing and empowerment, all work towards keeping the human element feeling satisfied and empowered. Teamwork, building trust, communicating purpose clearly – these elements are repeatedly espoused in change management practice and they all contribute to showing that people are valued. Strategic planning and action plans are all about change and the steps and strategies utilised to achieve change, but acknowledging the importance and value of human interaction is also clearly emphasised and plans must include this accordingly to be successful. Making people aware of the steps in the change process in advance and warning them of possible reactions will help them to cope with change in a more positive and less reactive way.
My initial thoughts on leadership, recorded in the July 22 blog post, were very general and were really based on the assumption that some people are natural leaders and others are not. Learning about the different styles and aspects of leadership has shown me that good leadership instincts are not enough – to lead and bring about significant change, one must be proactive and deliberate, and plan for a whole range of factors before attempting to implement anything major. Furthermore, in a teacher librarian role, it has demonstrated to me the importance of leading beyond the library, being an advocate for the library to the rest of the school so that they are aware of our potential to help them. Being open to change and improvement, both in what we teach and how we teach it, can only enhance the teaching and learning experience. The qualities suggested in the leadership for learning model, outlined in the August 27 blog, are:
* an attitude of continual learning
* a readiness to consider new ideas and perspectives
* a willingness to reflect on one’s own professional practice and consider how to enhance it
* an understanding of educational theory and how people learn
* an understanding that teaching and learning are continually evolving processes and impact on each other.
Coming to an awareness of these qualities, and the many other aspects of leadership theory covered this semester, can strengthen our capacity to lead in our teacher librarian roles, both now and in the future.
Cameron, E., & Green, M. (2004). Individual Change. Making Sense of change management: a complete guide to the models, tools and techniques of organisational change (pp.12-61). London: Kogan Page.
Change Management explored in 1 minute. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/gmoDpj1jtyA?rel=0
Lindsay, H. (2014, July 20). Blog Entry-Sunday, July 20, 2014. Retrieved from: https://helenmali.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/july-20-2014/
Lindsay, H. (2014, July 22). Post 1: My thoughts on leadership. Retrieved from: https://helenmali.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/etl504-module-1-post-1/
Lindsay, H. (2014, July 31). ETL504 Module 2 Post 2. Retrieved from: https://helenmali.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/etl504-module-2-post-2/
Lindsay, H. (2014, August 18). ETL504 Assmt 1 Reflective Critical Analysis Blog Post. Retrieved from: https://helenmali.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/etl504-assmt-1-reflective-critical-analysis-blog-post/
Lindsay, H. (2014, August 27). Leadership for Learning – blog 1. Retrieved from: https://helenmali.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/leadership-for-learning-blog-1/
Sergiovanni, T. (2005). The virtues of leadership. The Educational Forum, 69(Winter), 112-123. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/7375166/Sergiovanni-Thomas-Virtues-of-Leadership
Tapscott, D. (2012). Four Principles for the Open World. Retrieved from: http://embed.ted.com/talks/don tapscott four principles for the open world 1.html