Blog Task / ETL504

ETL504 A2 Blog Task – Critical Reflection

I believe this subject was a critical one for me as it is the area I have always felt I am the weakest – leading. Once I thought about it I realised I knew what it took to be an effective leader (as seen in MacDonald, 2013a) but I had never taken my own advice and actually shown leadership.  As I learnt more about the many types of leadership, I realised my initial thoughts reflected transformational leadership qualities with elements of distributed leadership, as seen in the quote “leaders… know when others can help them improve their learning environments” (MacDonald, 2013a, para. 3). I was beginning to see how someone previously resistance to taking the lead could do so in a leadership style that best suited them.

Sergiovanni’s Virtues of Leadership (2005) had a great affect on me with his clear and reasonable explanation of hope, trust, piety, and civility being the virtues one must embody if one wants to be a successful leader in a school (MacDonald, 2013b). They “seemed to make wonderful sense to me as an aspiring leader” (MacDonald, 2013b, para. 9) and took all the leadership jargon out of the equation to state simple universally understandable qualities of a leader. But I hesitate on the balance that would be required between them if they are to be most effective and act as the school’s best defence against obstacles (Sergiovanni, 2005, p. 122).

The activities where I was able to put the learning into practical use or relate it to an actual example was where I felt I did the most useful exploring of the content. Implementing the Seven Steps to Problem Solving (n.d.) in Module 1.3 was “very difficult as I am not naturally a problem solver” (MacDonald, 2013c) but very rewarding. I had used Adair’s (2010) advice to solving systems problems to help me work through this scenario, trying to keep in mind his caution of “beware of the fallacy of the single cause” (Adair, 2010, p. 50). I feel this is excellent advice to any leader trying to successfully solve a systems-type problem in a school – look for the many causes that may have lead to the problem.

Module 2.3 got me thinking of a change innovation I had witnessed myself (MacDonald, 2013d) and made me consider how Schifter’s (2008) considerations of successful professional development and changing a school’s culture can aid the change process. Basing a school culture on “continuous learning” (Hackman & Wageman, 2007, p. 46) will be the way to ensure staff are “willing and wanting to share knowledge and ideas collaboratively” (MacDonald, 2013e) and have greater chance for your innovation to stick.

Module 3.2’s Leadership for Learning topic on collaborative curriculum programs allowed me to identify a real life experience I had had (MacDonald, 2013f) as being an excellent example of Advocacy Leadership (Collay, 2011, p. 88) and made me consider improvements that could be made to the curriculum program described and ways this could be used by a teacher librarian.  I made similar real life connections in Module 4.3’s activity, which had me connect Lewis’s (2011) Strategic Implementation Models with a real life scenario (MacDonald, 2013g). I attempted to adopt an “Autonomous/Adaptive” model (Lewis, 2011, p. 145) in the scenario as I felt that would best suit a school situation and because Lewis states that the more stakeholders are involved and engaged, the more likely they are to feel satisfied with the change and support it (2011, p. 151).

So, to summarise, what are the key points I’m walking away with from this Teacher Librarian as Leader subject?

1.     Know what leadership style suits you and your situation. Transformational (Better Business Learning, 2012), authentic (Avolio, Walumba, & Weber, 2009) and distributed leadership (Youngs, 2009) I feel best suit leading in schools.

2.     Be an effective decision maker and problem solver and have strategies so that there is accountability and transparency with your courses of action (see Seven Steps to Problem Solving, n.d.).

3.     Leadership is about change, change, change! (Kotter, n.d.)

4.     Leadership requires teamwork and collaboration. (Tapscott, 2012).

5.     Collaboration is necessary for leadership for learning. Curriculum leadership cannot be undertaken in isolation by the TL if they truly want to make an effect (Crotty, 2013a). Working with classroom teachers and admin are the key to success.

6.     Lead through Pro-D in areas that you have knowledge and expertise (Crotty, 2013b)

7.     Step 6 and others will require finesse in communication skills to refine your message, send it in an effective medium, and in a way that the audience can and wants to decode and act upon (How the Communication process Works, 2012).

8.     Listen, listen, listen! 40% of leadership is listening; the rest is doing something about it! (Minute MBA, n.d.).

9.     Plan, plan, plan! Evaluate your current situation – SWOT (Olsen, 2008), decide what needs to be done and how (mission and vision), write up plans about what you need to do and how you are going to do it (goals and objectives). All of this in collaboration with stakeholders, of course – one cannot work alone in their library island

Reference List

Adair, J. E. (2010). Key problem solving strategies. Decision making and problem solving strategies (pp. 45-53). London: Kogan Page.

Avolio, B., Walumbwa, F., & Weber, T. J. (2009). Leadership: Current Theories, Research, and Future Directions. DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Retrieved March 6, 2013, from digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1036&context=managementfacpub

Better Business Learning (July 11, 2012). What is Transformational Leadership? Retrieved May 13, 2013 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=60O2OH7mHys

BNet (June 8, 2011). 7 Step Problem Solving

Collay, M. (20112011). Teaching is leading. Everyday Teacher Leadership: Taking Action Where You Are(pp. 75-108). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Crotty, R. (2013a). Leading Change: Innovation and Change Management [ETL504 Module 2.3]. Retrieved May 13, 2013 from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201330_W_D/page/2179fa2f-bbfd-4f13-803d-da9d7fd8c83e

Crotty, R. (2013b). Leadership for Learning: Professional Learning [ETL504 Module 3.4]. Retrieved May 13, 2013 from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL504_201330_W_D/page/2179fa2f-bbfd-4f13-803d-da9d7fd8c83e

How the Communication Process Works (August 2, 2012). Retrieved May 13, 2013 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6u0AVn-NUM&feature=player_embedded

Kotter, J. (n.d.). The 8-Step Process for Leading Change. Kotter International – Innovative Strategy Implementation Professionals. Retrieved May 13, 2013 from http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/changesteps/changesteps

Lewis, L. K. (2011). Communication approaches and strategies. Organizational change creating change through strategic communication (pp. 144-176). Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell.

MacDonald, S. (2013a, March 3). Teacher Librarian as Leader: Initial thoughts on leadership. Retrieved May 13, 2013 from https://shmacdonald.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/etl504-teacher-librarian-as-leader-initial-thoughts-on-leadership/

MacDonald, S. (2013b, March 10). Sergiovanni’s Virtues of Leadership. Retrieved May 13, 2013 from https://shmacdonald.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/etl504-teacher-librarian-as-leader-initial-thoughts-on-leadership/

MacDonald, S. (2013c, March 15). Implementing the 7 Steps to Problem Solving. Retrieved May 13, 2013 from https://shmacdonald.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/etl504-7-steps-to-problem-solving/

MacDonald, S. (2013d, March 13). Innovation and Change in the classroom through Pro-D [Online forum comment]. Retrieved May 13, 2013 from http://forums.csu.edu.au/perl/forums.pl?task=frameset&forum_id=ETL504_201330_W_D_Sub5_forum&message_id=6260846

MacDonald, S. (2013e, April 5). A1 Blog Task – Leadership in School Libraries. Retrieved May 13, 2013 from https://shmacdonald.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/etl504-a1-blog-task-leadership-in-school-libraries/

MacDonald, S. (2013f, March 26). L for L: Collaborative Curriculum Programs [Online forum comment]. Retrieved May 13, 2013 from http://forums.csu.edu.au/perl/forums.pl?task=frameset&forum_id=ETL504_201330_W_D_Sub6_forum&message_id=6273327

MacDonald, S. (2013f, April 28). Module 4 Scenario [Online forum comment]. Retrieved May 13, 2013 from http://forums.csu.edu.au/perl/forums.pl?task=frameset&forum_id=ETL504_201330_W_D_Sub7_forum&message_id=6339446

Minute MBA (n.d.). Let your Ears Do the Talking – How Good Managers Listen. Retrieved May 13, 2013 from http://www.onlinemba.com/blog/managers-listen/

Olsen, E. (July 28, 2008). SWOT Analysis: How to perform one for your organization. Retrieved May 13, 2013 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&list=PLF47BA7BC6BDA46B1&v=GNXYI10Po6A

Sergiovanni, T. (2005). The Virtues of Leadership. The Educational Forum, 69(Winter), 112-123.

Seven Steps to Problem Solving (n.d.). Retrieved May 13, 2013 from http://www.pitt.edu/~groups/probsolv.html

Tapscott, D. (June 2012). Four Principles for the open world. Ted Talks. Retrieved May 13, 2013 from http://www.ted.com/talks/don_tapscott_four_principles_for_the_open_world_1.html?embed=true

Youngs, H. (2009). (Un)Critical times? Situating distributed leadership in the field . Journal of Educational Administration and History, 41(4), 377-389.

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