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In this post, I will share the course notes from session 1, discuss my coaching session 1 and my second piece of homework.
Here are the notes from session 1 of the course.
Having had my first coaching meeting as part of my middle leadership course, I identified my target from the middle leadership standards and practices.
The area I decided to focus on was 3.2.4 which says:
Middle leaders evaluate the impact of professional learning on teachers‟ practice and understanding, in relation to outcomes for learners
work with the team to critically reflect on individual and collective professional learning;
plan and evaluate professional learning provision directly on its intended impact on learning, within their areas of responsibility.
What I took this to mean for my project area of developing digital leaders throughout the school was getting people across the school to ‘buy into’ the digital leaders more. i.e the ‘Professional Learning’ is the digital leaders project, which I learned of from Naace Conference 2012, and I would use this to reflect with other staff members on how learning and teaching could be developed using Digital Leaders.
I decided that this should be the area I focused on, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I have become used to working with ‘the convinced’. Teachers at Teachmeet events, teachers on twitter etc. Working with a group who were already believers in the power of digital leadership wasn’t really moving beyond my comfort zone.
Secondly for the digital leaders project to move towards maximum impact in school, I felt I had to share the potential of digital leaders throughout the school. Involving other staff, pupil support workers, parents and other children along the way would make the digital leaders a key asset to our learning environment in school, not just something Mr Drummond does.
Having identified my area to work on, my coach and I discussed a plan of action. With my coach’s help I decided the next steps were:
To read articles about developing teams and getting people to buy into a leader’s vision.
Select a group of staff at school whom digital leaders can work with.
Audit the group of staff to see how they currently view the digital leaders and how they feel the Digital Leaders could support them.
Have a clear vision to present to this first group of staff at school.
Share the vision, linking to the staff’s views from the audit (and beyond…) with the staff.
Make sure the digital leaders understand their responsibilities when working with other staff and children around school.
Allow time for the magic to happen.
Audit staff and digital leaders to see if their work is becoming embedded across all school areas.
NB Where I use the word staff in the above statements, I mean teaching staff and pupil support workers.
Many thanks to my coach for her time. I’m off to do some reading.
There seems to be quite a few people who are interested in getting Digital Leader groups set up and asking for ideas/help. Hope this helps, please feel free to get in contact, especially if you are based in Scotland, as my digital leaders are desperate to meet other DL-ers.
This post forms part of my learning journal for the West Lothian Leadership Programme.
To begin to answer this perhaps it is first necessary to think about and try to define leadership and management.
My initial feelings would be that leadership is the Jed Bartlet, Nasser Hussain figure. The person who has vision, inspires people to follow that vision, ensures that the people they have working for them share that vision and work towards it.
Management often feels less positive to me. If something needs managing that for me has a connotation of a problem which needs to held in abeyance almost. It is the person who maybe stifles some of the vision of the leader in the cause of ‘a higher figure’. I’m thinking Tim Lamb trying to manage the Zimbabwe situation with Nasser Hussain in the 2003 world cup – not something conducive to progression .
As you can see I’m not exactly starting off with equally positive views of leadership and management.
My next part of the task was to read up on leadership and management. In these days of the internet information is but a click away, however finding information you trust and respect is not so easy. For my reading I chose an article from The Guardian, which then linked through to the Harvard Business Review and a blog post on Lifehacker.
John Kotter, a professor at Harvard Business School feels that
“Management is a set of processes that keep an organisation functioning. They make it work today – they make it hit this quarter’s numbers. The processes are about planning, budgeting, staffing, clarifying jobs, measuring performance, and problem-solving when results did not go to plan.”
Clearly that is a more positive definition than mine, and reading it made me realise that management is necessary to get the jobs done, otherwise the vision of the leader will not be realised.
Johnathan Gosling, from the University of Exeter gives an example of a management technique,
“Target setting is a management technique used to focus attention on certain activities. A hospital, for example, might set targets around waiting times.”
For this exercise to work, someone within the hospital must show leadership by emphasising the importance of the activity.
“In this example, the wider purpose is helping patients to lead better lives. A leader needs to inspire employees by showing how meeting a target can contribute towards this aim. They also need to think of new ways of reaching that target.”
Again, that challenges my ideas around management. In this example management leads directly to the positive outcome which the leader wants (i.e. less waiting time in hopsitals). Gosling says that someone needs to show the leadership by emphasising the importance of the target setting. Does that suggests that the leadership did not create the target setting activity? i.e. they have to show someone else’s visions?
I also read what Kotter has to say about leadership.
It (leadership) is associated with taking an organization into the future, finding opportunities that are coming at it faster and faster and successfully exploiting those opportunities. Leadership is about vision, about people buying in, about empowerment and, most of all, about producing useful change. Leadership is not about attributes, it’s about behavior. And in an ever-faster-moving world, leadership is increasingly needed from more and more people, no matter where they are in a hierarchy. The notion that a few extraordinary people at the top can provide all the leadership needed today is ridiculous, and it’s a recipe for failure.
I think that is something which sits easily with my initial feelings around leadership. Bartlet and Hussain were people who changed things (ok one was fictional!!) for the better. My view of the captains who succeeded Hussain is that they were not the quality of leader Hussain was, although they were more successful.
Kotter talks about leadership from any place in the hierarchy, it would be interesting to go back in time and look at the role successful leaders played prior to them gaining the higher space in the hierarchy, and also how any leadership they showed was treated by their actual leaders and managers.
The question asks what is leadership without manage. It seems to me that management should be the mechanisms, which ensure delivery of the vision of the leader. In turn, the leader needs to share the vision, enthuse and inspire with the vision.
Therefore, I think leadership without management is a vision, a passion, a pathway, but with no means of delivering it – people may agree completely with it but without management (even self-management). The vision will remain unfulfilled as the actual changes required will never take place.