Monday, December 1, 2014

Pathways to Leadership

Today I was fortunate to attend a “Pathways to Leadership” Day hosted by CEO Inner West Region. It was lead by Paul Cronin (Inner West Consultant) with talks from Michael Krawec (Regional Director) and Andrew Fraser and Roisin O’Reilly. Here are my recaps and reflections from the day.

In the past there was an Aspiring Leaders afternoon. It was a brief gathering, this is what you need to do and that’s it. Today we were told that we will get our bearings on the many pathways to leadership. I look forward to this, you can look ahead and have hope for the future but there are many pathways and routes to take.
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The importance of eating came through. I liked this point, eating and sharing meals are important, conversations occur and relationships from.I think it is important that Leaders need to eat at the same table as their colleagues.

Session One Leadership and our Region.
We were invited to write down - how we came to be here, all I could think is that I want to make a (positive) impact. After reading the response Michael Krawec mentioned how diverse the group was. What’s great about Leadership is that all leaders are diverse, I think what makes a great leader is individuality, authenticity and that they make an impact. This leads me to reflect that I want to be the type of leader that no one has met, however, I really am unsure of how that looks just yet.
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We were told that it is hoped that we:
  • feel supported
  • gain an understanding of the demands
  • have an awareness of Performance growth model
  • feel empowered to take control
  • engage a learning community that has a leadership focus
  • nurture relationship

I like that these things are hoped for the future leaders of the organisation I work for - really shows that they are forward thinking.

This video was then shared - Building a plane in the air - take off time on the incomplete plane
This is so true as a lot of us will take on a leadership role at a school that is already flying, there isn’t always a beginning point.

Great Leaders define what makes a leader!

We were asked to name a great leader and three qualities:
Sergey Brin (Google Founder)
  • supportive
  • enabler
  • visionary
We then shared and these are the qualities we all shared-

Qualities of a good Leader
(As chosen by those that were present)
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Michael continued with - The essential ingredient into a successful school was:
The Leadership

Distinction needs to be made between management and leadership.

Finding the X factor - personal, interpersonal and social competence.

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This Emotional Intelligence is an important point to me, I have seen leaders and people that have no awareness of how to treat people or respond to others. I have seen people in need and then leaders will not offer help. I have seen relationships in and out of schools require a lot more talking, understanding and awareness of a persons emotional needs. A trusting relationship is what is key - what needs to happen are things that build relationships - conversing, getting to know who your colleagues are.

Michael closed with The First Follower - Youtube Clip - a personal favourite video of mine.
A leader is an Enabler - The leader in the Flint and The First follower is the spark!
Be public be easy to follow!

I was left thinking ----> This little light of mine - I’m going to let it shine!

Session two “Know thy self”

Andrew Fraser then invited us to acknowledge what our purpose was, in various areas.
This is what stuck out for me in what my purpose is:
In school -
Students: Make a difference in the lives of the students in my presence: educate them, empower them, make them realise their potential, listen to them and their challenges.
Staff relationships: A positive, bubbly person on staff - I was once told that my smile has helped people some mornings.
Staff capacity: Enable those to use tools they think they cannot use, share information, resources and share ideas with staff and students
The School Community: Involvement, encouragement, greeting people, listening to people.

Andrew went on to discuss the importance of perception:
  • How you are in the room is how you are in the workplace.
  • How you are seen and how you are responded to.
  • Perception is important. How you are viewed.
I can’t help be think perceptions can change and the way we perceive others is not always the way they are.

We were invited to reflect upon the follow questions and then share. I invite you to also answer these questions in your own document.
Pathways to leadership - personal and professional aspirations and goals.

What strengths must I have to teach and lead well?

What do I want out of my work and life?

How do I want others to perceive me?

How do I want to act?

How do I want to be?

I do feel like I know myself, I am an extrovert but I am also a good listener. What can I do to let others know that I am a good listener and will actively listen to a need, a vent, a story or an idea?

Finally Andrew shared The Performance Growth in Action Model and he discussed the value of feedback.

We need feedback from all aspects, in all that you work and we need to be open to giving and receiving feedback. This year I gave my students an opportunity to write my report card as a teacher, I received a lot of positive feedback but they also gave me some areas that I need to work on.

People are doing things - many people do the same things but some do it differently.

Leadership is about Coaching, mentoring, feedback, who is your mentor, who’s feedback do you value most and why?

I look forward to seeking more feedback so that I can know more about how I am perceived and the person I am.

Session Three -  Standards, Higher levels and a community of learners

Roisin O’Reilly  began the afternoon session with:
The importance of peers - “Good teaching is a collective responsibility” Fullan & Hargreaves (2012).
Working in a peer community towards the higher levels of accreditation will help you in

  • Building an understanding of what constitutes Highly Accomplished and Lead Practice
  • Connecting purposefully around the professional standards for teachers
  • Motivating you towards improvement
  • Observing and critiquing each others practice
  • Giving and receiving feedback on practice
  • Building skills in self-reflection
  • Developing online and face to face connections

The afternoon session involved choosing a leadership scenario and making decisions as a team on how to address the challenge in the scenario.  We decided what action needed to take place and how it linked with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. It involved us in planning, discussing and working collaboratively to show how we will identify areas in need for improvement. We then needed to match what we will do with the appropriate leadership standard, followed by then identify the impact the action will have and what evidence is required - it was set out similar to the table below.

What will we do?

It was a challenging task that had us really thinking about what standard will link to the action, there are some that cover more standards. It was really important to name a range of evidence to show the impact such as assessment results, observations and student voice - which I like in the form of blogging.
This activity gave us the opportunity to really familiarise ourselves with the teaching standards while naming the required proof to show change or result.This activity made me realise the importance of collaboration, making a difference and then being able to show exactly what has happened and the difference it has made. A challenging but enjoyable task with many insights.

In summary, my main takeaways from the day were the importance of relationships, awareness of others, knowledge of self, the importance of feedback and to be able to show hard evidence of the impact of your leadership. A great day that inspired, informed, affirmed and challenged. Stay tuned for my journey as a leader.