Bringing It All Together: Self-Differentiated Leadership
Change has become a constant in my context for the last couple of years. Although the experiences educators have gone through have not been initiated by factors outside of the organization, it caused a quick adjustment for every educator. Some educators struggled while others became change agents in their own schools. Courous (2021) states that catalysts of change have a clear vision, persistence, ask tough questions, lead by example, and build strong relationships based on trust. I believe that a self-differentiated leader shares the same characteristics previously mentioned. My motivation is fueled by my WHY. Leading with heart will allow me to explain what I believe in and how it may positively impact student learning. It is my duty as a passionate educator about learning to inspire others and promote change that will help create a learning environment where students are at the driver’s seat, which is what I described in my “What is your why?“ post. Sticking to my WHY and sharing it with other colleagues is one of the best ways to promote change that will positively impact student learning.
It is not enough to share what I believe in. Change requires being strategic so that it does not cause stress on others. Identifying vital behaviors will lead to better results and will cause positive behaviors naturally. In my “Influencing Change” post, I discussed the three high leverage behaviors I identified as crucial to lead teachers to the desired results included in my innovation plan:
- Teachers will do/ set up a blended learning environment. Teachers will integrate blended learning into their curriculum.
- Teachers will integrate blended learning into their curriculum.
- Teacher will hold themselves accountable through collaborative meetings (PLCs).
By focusing on measurable results that I want to improve and the vital behaviors previously mentioned, I can build capacity in teachers to ensure the desired results come to life. It is not as easy as it sounds, but small changes can lead to big changes in behavior. Exploring the the six sources of influence and asking myself questions such as: Are teachers encouraging the right behavior? Do teachers have the skills, and strengths to do Blended Learning? Are rewards encouraging the vital behaviors? Does the culture of the school enable the vital behaviors? Such questions will help me make bite-size adjustments that will continue motivating teachers to do blended learning.
The main goal I have is to influence others rather than persuading them. From my point of view, the innovation plan that I have will influence others by changing minds, hearts and behaviors at a long term. Installing 4DX in my organization will allow me to focus on the goal at hand so that the whirlwind does not distract me and other adopters from doing Blended Learning. I know that as a teacher leader I want to work and do things in the best possible manner. But I cannot do that alone. Identifying lead measures that are bite-size and achievable, I will be able to support and guide teachers through change. A visible scoreboard is key in this process so that everyone is engaged and highly motivated in the process. Throughout this process, I need to be prepared to have crucial conversations. Patterson, K (2002) states that , what makes a conversation crucial rather than challenging, frustrating or annoying is that the results could have an impact on the desired results. I foresee having a great number of conversations that if I do not manage effectively, I will definitely affect the progress that has been made with teachers. What do I need to keep at the center of the process? My why. Every conversation will be led with my heart, which will need to be aligned with my moral compass. Every decision or dialogue I have with teachers will be through the students’ lens. By doing this, every teacher will implement the plan at their own pace. Such a differentiation will keep teachers engaged, be agents of change and leaders at school.
Couros, G., 2021. 5 Characteristics of a Change Agent. [online] The Principal of Change. Available at: <http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/4783> [Accessed 6 October 2021].
Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2002). Crucial conversations. McGraw-Hill Contemporary.