The final chapter in “The 5 Most Important Questions”, written by Frances Hesselbein, is entitled Transformational Leadership. In one short chapter, Hesselbein outlines eight milestones that organizations need to pass in order to reach their destination.
- Scan the Environment ~ Do your homework! Know what the emerging trends, implications and data will be needed to support a responsive program. Two years ago, two of our Learning Coordinators, Jackie Sweeney and Aretta Blue piloted a reading project to support struggling readers. That program has now grown into a significant initiative, aimed at supporting our OFIP schools, their educators, their parent community and most importantly their students. When the need arose to support those schools, we were ready!
- Revisit the Mission ~ That will be our work in the next few days, before we can look at any future plans. We need to ensure that everyone is committed to our mission and what it means for our work in the system.
- Ban the Hierarchy ~ I strongly believe in this notion and I am looking forward to what that means to our work.
- Challenge the Gospel ~ What are the sacred cows that no longer fit into our work?
- Employ the power of Language ~If leaders lead by voice, what are the powerful messages that connect and illuminate? When I refer to students in our system, I regularly call them “babies”, but I don’t think that I’ve ever shared why. I purposefully started using that terminology when I was disappointed and frustrated as a teacher spoke ill of a child and labeled them by their behaviour. I never want us to forget that these children, whom we are blessed to work with, are indeed someone’s pride and joy. When a baby is born, his/her parents have every hope that they will be amazing and change the world. As educators we need to embrace that same hope for each student.
- Disperse Leadership Across the Organization ~ Do I empower the educators on our team? Do we, as system leaders empower classroom teachers? If not, then how do we go about improving that?
- Lead from the front, don’t push from the rear ~ Modeling desired behaviours at all levels of the organization is imperative. If we want our teachers to read and write, then we need to read and write. If want our administrators to make their reflections and learning visible, then senior levels of the organization need to find ways to share what impacts them, what motivates them and how they too are learning.
- Assess Performance ~ As we have continued to embrace the Collaborative Inquiry process in our work, we have evolved to the point where reflection and assessment is ongoing. It is no longer what we do at the end?
What a list! In rereading it, I’m not sure that there is a correct order in which to reach each milestone. As you reflect on your staff (school based, system-level, task force members) have you already mastered some of them? Which ones seem attainable? Which ones seem too daunting? Which ones will have the greatest impact?
Come write with me….