So, what are effective leadership practices (at any level)?
What can we do to develop shared leadership so everyone at all levels is working together to collaborate with purpose?
“Leadership at all levels is a paradigm, in which regardless of your title, tenure or compensation, you relate to your company as if ‘you own the block’.” (Papadopoulos, 2016)
Leadership Matters. So let’s get straight to the point about why leadership matters in schools. To quote, Professor Alma Harris, Prof. of Educational Leadership at the Institute of Education, London, “Creating a leaderful school and developing capacity is likely to result in a greater impact on student learning.” While Fullan writes, “The greatest influence on student progression in learning is having highly expert, inspired and passionate teachers and school leaders working together to maximize the effect of their teaching on all students in their care.” (Fullan, 2015) So, cultivating a collaborative culture is critical so leadership at all levels can thrive.
So, what practices are effective to support leading at all levels? Take 5 minutes to scroll through daily strategies and resources for ‘Leading at All Levels’ or read a MiniPD Coach article below.
Are we ready for the future – how can CAS support students in a changing world (part 1)? by Heidi Oxley-Whitnell, MiniPD Coach. In this article, Heidi asks, “When was the last time you considered how CAS was helping your students be future-ready? What skills are they developing, and are we providing opportunities for skills to become dispositions?” She writes, “Take some time to review the skills for the future and reflect on what you are doing.” This is a great read for teachers of high school students whether you are following CAS or not. Heidi’s follow up article, Are we ready for the future – how can CAS support students in a changing world (part 2)? introduces strategies to use to develop future-ready students looking through a CAS lens. Heidi, MiniPD Coach, has 30 years of experience across 6 international schools. Having fulfilled a number of roles from Head of Physical Education, Vice Principal of Student Life to CAS & Service Learning Coordinator.
Cultivating Teacher Leadership at All Levels by Dr. Ilene Winokur, MiniPD Coach. Ilene writes, “There is no mention of where in the hierarchy of an organization a leader emerges, so why do we usually think that a leader needs to be in a role on the top steps of the hierarchy? Schools are organizations with many examples of leaders at lower levels of the hierarchy like teachers and staff that demonstrate leadership. They should be mentored by leaders to build capacity and sustainability.” Read more in Ilene’s article as she outlines key traits in team members who show leadership potential. Ilene, MiniPD Coach, is a professional development specialist and coach supporting teachers globally including refugee teachers. She is also author of the book, Journey to Belonging: Pathways to Well-Being.
Documenting Teacher Leadership by Betty Molerot, MiniPD Coach. In her article Betty highlights, “Teachers every day demonstrate a wealth of resourceful skills to facilitate students’ learning.” She asks us to consider questions such as, “How can these [skills] be evidenced as leadership? How can leadership at all levels be promoted in education settings? What does an effective leader in a classroom look like?” and “Where will your leadership take you next?” Betty has 15 years of international teaching experience and advocates for the importance of building partnerships, relationships, and connections among dedicated educators in order to serve with equity and justice the diversity of all communities.
Driving Teacher Leadership: Empowering teachers through agency and differentiation by Fernando Ramirez, MiniPD Coach. In this article, Fernando prompts us to consider, “If we agree that applying differentiation strategies and promoting agency in students will help them remain more engaged and motivated, fulfil their potential and improve their performance, would it not be fair to think that applying the same principles to teachers would have the same positive impact on their capacity to succeed?” Fernando is PYP Coordinator and aims to inspire and empower students through concept-based, inquiry-driven teaching and learning practices that will allow them to become self-regulated, life-long learners. He has led numerous workshops hosted by organisations including the IBO and Managebac. Read his story here.
Leading Dynamic Change by Kristy Beam, MiniPD Coach. In this article Kristy identifies how “leaders [can] break down barriers to successfully lead organizational change.” Through the metaphor of captaining a ship, she provides helpful insights into how leaders can use leadership models to navigate change in order to avoid “everyone getting seasick.” Kristy calls upon leaders to be transformational where both leaders and followers motivate and support each other’s growth. Leaders might want to learn about or review John Kotter’s 8 Steps for Leading Change to guide successful change processes. Kristy is the Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning with 24 years in the field of education. She believes that schools must move beyond random acts of improvement to targeted, intentional moves, and helps educators examine data to create and implement strategic plans to achieve their goals.
Leadership Matters – at all levels. So, we leave you to consider these uplifting words from Hargreaves et al, “Leadership should lift us up not drag us down. We should be shooting for the moon, not racing to the top. We should be stimulating and supporting our teams and their leaders to be as creative as we want our students to be. We should be collaborating with other schools for mutual advantage and greater good rather than trying to vanquish them in a win-lose competition. We should be combining good data with good cooperative judgment rather than being driven only by the data in everything we do. We should pull our people forward whenever we can by inspiring them.” (Hargreaves et al, 2014).
Join the Conversation
We invited educators from around the world to join us in a Coaches-in-Conversation on our theme, Leading at All Levels 2022. The recording is shared below.
Wanting to further the conversation?
Needing a thought partner? A critical friend?
Schedule one-to-one and small group coaching sessions with any of our inspirational MiniPD Coaches mentioned above. They can support you and your team to nudge your practices forward.
Want to learn more?
Leading at All Levels
- Buck, A., (2018). Leadership Matters 3.0. How Leaders at all levels can create great schools. Woodbridge. John Catt Educational Ltd.
- MiniPD Coaches (August, 2022). Leading at All Levels – Strategies from Educators
- Fullan, M., & Quinn, J., (2015). Coherance, Putting the Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts and Systems. Corwin
- Hargreaves, A., Boyle., A and Harris., A. (2014). Uplifting Leadership: How Organizations, Teams and Communities Raise Performance. Jossey-Bass.
- Papadopoulos, N., (2016). How a Culture of Leadership at ALL Levels Will Help Your Team Take Gold. [Online]. Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/271411 (Accessed 07/29/22)
The MiniPD Team
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