The following post is contributed by Bill Bryan, co-founder and vice president for Leadership and Organization Development, Center for Secondary School Redesign. Bill will be presenting at INSPIRE 2014.
Five Reasons Educators Need to Focus on Developing Leadership Skills
1. To Lead Successful Major Change Efforts: A recent headline reads, “Early Results Indicate $4.6 Billion in School Turnarounds a Waste.” Most efforts at significant change in education practices fail, but not for a lack of resources, good ideas, or hard work. They fail because of a lack of the skills and tools required for effective change leadership. Currently, 95%+ of what passes for leadership training in education is in effect management training, and is insufficient in building the type of capacity required to meet demands for improved school performance.
2. To Create a Compelling Vision of the Future: Leaders help people to dream – to get outside themselves and stretch beyond what they thought was possible. Visions of the possible help people to take risks in the pursuit of new practices and solutions that improve performance.
3. To Embrace and Effectively Manage Resistance: If your change efforts aren’t encountering resistance, you aren’t changing anything! Resistance is part of human nature, and effective leaders are skilled at assessing and working through resistance, which enables them to create the buy-in and commitment required to attain and sustain major change goals.
4. To Build Strong Emotional Bank Accounts: Everyone looks to work in an environment where they are valued and their well-being is looked after. Leaders build credibility and trust through competence and focusing on relationships. They put heart before head, touch before task, and relationship before relevance and rigor. A focus on relationships results in deep good-will bank accounts that enables leaders to ask staff to get outside their comfort zone to try new things.
5. To Allocate Energy Effectively in Support of Change Efforts: In education, new initiatives happen every day, but without anything coming off the plate. Really competent leaders are very astute in recognizing that most people cannot take on any more than one-to-three new projects or practices at any one time. They keep everyone focused on what’s most important and guard against watering down efforts by spreading energy too thin through too many goals, initiatives, teams, and meetings.