Unit 2: My Leadership Style…The Sequel

As a second blog posting for this week we were asked to look at five different articles, choose a quote from each that resonated with us with a brief explanation of its impact on our leadership philosophy. Below are my quotes!

  1. Leadership, more or less? A processual, communication perspective on the role of agency in leadership theory.

“followership is viewed as being what assists in the ‘improvement’ and ‘attainment’ of such objectives, rather than what might fundamentally interrogate them.” (pg. 9)

https://giphy.com/embed/l3vQXn15dRVNMru7e

via GIPHY

 

This quote was interesting to me, as a “follower”, because it’s one of the most important tools a leader needs in order to be successful. Without the contributions of the follower the whole team and organization suffer. As an educator, I would consider myself a leader within the school that is working towards a common goal with other leaders. We are collaborating and leading our student body towards a greater knowledge within the curriculum we are working. We, collectively, lead by example and work with each other to ensure safe learning environments for our student body. Without the dedication from “followers” under a leader, there is going to be a failed system in which there is no growth. So much is put on the leader that often the “followers” are forgotten, which is unfair as they are the contributors to the successful outcome of the whole.   

  1. Critical and alternative approaches to leadership, learning and development.

“This emerging critical strand of the leadership literature therefore suggests that leadership development and learning should avoid presenting leadership as a fixed identity or role, instead encouraging an awareness of multiple roles (leader, follower and both).” (pg. 6)

This was a quote that really jumped out at me. Too often, in education, is the leader looked at as in their office and dealing with “bad” students. It’s important to be seen throughout the building, creating relationships with students and staff. These types of interactions will help strengthen a leaders role within a school and build stronger relationships for the future. Everyone within the structure of the business should have an opportunity to be flexible and try different things within the parameters of their jobs. These practices will harbour growth within their occupation.

  1. Avoiding Repetitive Change Syndrome

“Repetitive change syndrome also starts taking time away from routine operations. There is only so much effective working time in a day, and time spent on change takes away from time spent on routine operations.” (pg.3 )

Change is one of the hardest things for staff within an organization as well as the leaders implementing said change. Every 3-4 years elementary schools within RPSD move their principals. In my career, 7 years, I have had a leadership change 3 times. This can be problematic and does not give staff members the opportunity to become great at what they do. With these continual changes, it usually takes around a year to a year and a half to really get a whole staff adjusted and bought into the new leadership style, it’s different for each teacher in the building. This brings about stress and hesitancy to staff as well as the leader. My big question would be: Isn’t there a better way to bring stability to a leadership position without having to switch them every 3-4 years?

  1. The stupidity paradox: The power and pitfalls of functional stupidity at work.

“Self-stupidifying starts to happen when we censor our own internal conversation. As we go through our working day, we constantly try to give some sense to our often chaotic experiences.” (pg. 14)

Although I know I am a good educator I struggle, at times, with trying to give some sense to how I am doing, self-assessing. I often think too much and therefore start to ask myself things like; “are you doing a good enough job?” Or  “Would you want your own kids to be given the education you are supplying for your students?” Questions I know the answers to, but continually roll through my head every once and a while. Now I know this really doesn’t relate that well to the quote I have chosen, but that’s what kept coming to my mind when I initially read it. In a way, I’m responding to this quote I chose with a bit of “chaos”.

  1. Cross-Cultural Understandings of Leadership

“Others told us that the leader was a student. It was the wisdom of the leader, accumulated through some period of learning, others learned. That learning was voluntary. It was a neverending process.” (pg. 16)

The last quote I chose was one that might have resonated the most in all of the previous readings. In society, the leader is looked upon as the one with all of the answers, they know how EVERYTHING works! But that is not the case and any leader who thinks otherwise has stunted their growth. I like this idea for leaders and everyone that is working with them. There is never going to be a time where one knows everything about their role, whether that be a leader or follower, and that’s the genius behind this mind frame. We are all working towards something and it’s imperative that we work together to achieve that goal.

Each of these quotes resonated with me and challenged me to look at my leadership philosophy under a more critical eye. One of the approaches that it really challenged for me was the  Laissez-Faire leadership approach within my philosophy. Not only do leaders need to be present within their building, but collaborating on units and lessons with other teachers might actually help create a stronger community and help build greater relationships throughout the school. This, of course, is way easier to say than to have implemented, but wouldn’t that be a different and interesting change.

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4 Responses to Unit 2: My Leadership Style…The Sequel

  1. Trevor Kerr says:

    Hi Adam!
    I liked how you hi-lighted the quote about “presenting leadership as a fixed identity or role, instead encouraging an awareness of multiple roles.” I think the traditional view of the principal is exactly how you mentioned, sitting in the office dealing with the bad kids. I think this is very problematic for a variety of reasons. For one, there are so many administrators in our schools do much more than simply dealing with the bad kids. I think it’s important that we view their position as being far more complex and important than simply dealing with the bad kids. I think that being visible within the school helps to eliminate these stereotypes and assumptions about administrators. More importantly, this creates great connections and relationships with the students. With these stronger relationships, our administrators will be dealing with less of those “bad kids”.

    In addition, your thoughts about the leader as the student got me thinking about leadership in general. Going forward as leaders, I think that we must always remember that the role is constantly evolving and changing and we cannot forget about being that student. I think people in power can become very comfortable and truly believe they have the answers to everything. In reality, I don’t think any of us can ever actually get to this point. When we are not that student anymore and become stagnant, what are we actually doing to serve our people?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. stephenwihak says:

    Hey Adam,

    Thanks for this post – it really speaks to many of the down-to-earth realities of leadership systems that exist within the school setting, where (almost) everyone on staff takes occasional turns taking the lead in different situations as they arise. Can you reply with a quote and brief discussion of that quote from Tourish, that speaks to the necessity for two-way influence between ” leaders” and “followers”, that a one-way, top-down influence is counter-productive?

    Tourish, D. (2014). Leadership, more or less? A processual, communication perspective on the role of agency in leadership theory. Leadership, 10(1), 79-98.

    Thanks!

    – Steve

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Stephen,

      The other quote I found interesting was, “For followers, the decision not to offer critical feedback is a demonstration of agency manifest in silence, based on an often justified calculation of self-interest. But silence remains a form of communication, and hence has a co-constructive impact on its recipients in formal positions of leadership.” (pg. 13)

      I found this interesting as I think that a lot of people that would be considered followers within any business are really hesitant to share their point of view. This really opened my eyes quite a bit in terms of thinking that silence is a form of communication…I was always of the mindset that, if you do not speak up your voice won’t be heard. From this perspective, I was really ignorant of the fact that silence can be a very effective form of communication. This leads me to think that leaders are, in most instances, in a two-way influence with followers.
      This would be especially true within education, in terms of principals and staff within their building. There does become a disconnect at times when leadership comes from the Board as it then becomes a top-down influence, but most staffs that I have been a part of have found ways to work together to implement their directives. In the realm of education, this quote rang very true to me.

      Adam

      Like

  3. Troy says:

    Hey Adam. I completely understand why while teaching you may sometimes second guess yourself and have “the stupidity paradox.” I read somewhere before that teachers make around 1500 decisions during one school day. Think of when most decisions happen, they are on the spot and they need a solution quickly or else things will escalate further. In 1500 decisions you are bound to either say or do something silly or at least later on when you have a second sit in self-reflection and reflect on the effectiveness of your decisions. Hindsight is 20/20. The key is to learn from your mistakes and remember its okay to self-reflect to make some sort of understanding of what happens in our hectic jobs.

    I feel your frustration with admin changes. As soon as you get a sense of the current admin and the students understand the rules of the school… BAMMM… a new admin change. I get why some admin changes happen, but your right there has to be a better way of effectively keeping leadership stability in schools. I wonder if any of our classmates are in admin positions and want to share their perspective. Once again, great read. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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