I have really focused on “innovative leadership development” in my work, and have written about it extensively in my work. Because of this, I wanted to collect all of my posts that have really focused on leadership in a time where leadership really needs to change. Please feel free to use the posts in any way to help you with your own development, or challenge any of the ideas that I have shared.
The posts are organized into two areas: “Developing Leadership” and “Embodying Visionary Leadership“. It is meant to help develop a vision and understanding, and then to talk about what it actually looks like. (For a static page of these posts, you can check out the “Leadership Deveolpment” page on my blog.)
Educational Leadership Philosophy – This is the post that leads to all of other things. I think it is a great practice to be able to write your own leadership philosophy so people understand why you do what you do. It is also something that I will revisit and tailor since a leadership philosophy should not stay the same for the rest of our lives. It should change on based on who we serve, and what we learn. It should constantly be pushing you to move forward.
8 Characteristics of the Innovative Leader – As we continue to look at teachers, students, and learning becoming more “innovative”, it is important that leadership changes. As administrators often set the tone for their district or their building, if they are saying the same, it is not likely that things are going to change in the classroom. Leadership needs to not only “think” different, but they need to “act” different. This post talks about some of those characteristics.
5 Questions You Should Ask Your Principal – To develop a powerful vision, it rarely starts with answers, but more often with questions. This post focuses on questions in five crucial areas: Fostering Effective Relationships, Instructional Leadership, Embodying Visionary Leadership, Developing Leadership Capacity, and Creating Sustainable Change. How do you lead in these areas?
3 Questions To Guide Your Vision – One of the things that I feel is important in a leadership position is that you build capacity and create an environment that eventually will not need you. To create a vision, you have to think about your long term impact, and how you will develop people to create a culture that is not dependent upon a person, but on the community.
Want someone to see your viewpoint? Ask them their thoughts first. – When I believe in something, I used to spend all of my time trying to “sell” that idea to others and trying to get them to embrace what I saw. If people didn’t agree with me, or my viewpoint, I would often got extremely frustrated and get nowhere closer than where I was before. I hear this same approach from so many other people who tell me about the countless hours they try to get people to “embrace change”, and what I have learned is to spend less time defending your position, and spend more time asking questions.
Embodying Innovative Leadership
4 Attributes of a Great Assistant Principal – Being an Assistant (or Vice) Principal, was one of my favourite jobs. As a principal, my AP’s were amazing and they helped to make me a better leader. They were always open to learn and develop; not only from what I would share to them, but from the experiences that they had with staff, students, and parents. I expect great Assistant Principals to focus on building relationships with the entire school community, are approachable, are change agents, and ALWAYS have the idea of “what is best for kids” driving their decision-making.
The Need for Courageous Leadership – This is a great example of a leader that models risks for their faculty, and leads through actions, not simply words. Does your school have the courage to let a student tweet on the behalf of your school account? If not, why?
4 Types of Leaders You Shouldn’t Be – Working with many different organizations, I have heard either the frustration from educators within the organization that feel like they are running on the spot, while also working with administrators that are more focused on holding down the fort as opposed leading with vision. These are some qualities that you or I could be doing, without even thinking about. It is so important to take a strong look in the mirror and think about the things that we would hate as an educator in our building.
21st Century Schools or 21st Century Learning? – The mass purchase of devices for schools is happening way too much without the crucial conversations about what learning should look like in the classroom. This is actually frustrating many teachers that I have spoken with; it just becomes another thing that has been dumped on educators, not something that is going to make learning better. There is definitely some value in playing with a device and figuring out some of the amazing things it can do, but should we really be doing that by buying devices en masse? Shouldn’t we try to figure out what the learning look like and then discuss the device?
3 Things We Should Stop Doing in Professional Development – There are a lot of things that we have just accepted as “norm” in our professional development, but we should always deeply look at how we spend our time with staff. Time is the most valuable currency we have in schools so it is important that we get the most out of every interaction we have together. In this post, I look at three things that we should not accept as simply the norm.
5 Characteristics of a Change Agent – As a leader, it is not just teaching “stuff”, but it is helping people to see the importance of embracing change in our work in schools today. We often lament at how people are terrible at accepting change, but in reality, many leaders are just poor at delivering why change is important or crucial. All people want to do something better, but what are the characteristics of leaders that successfully move people along?
Hopefully there are some things that you can take away from these posts, or share with others.