Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Reflecting on leadership . . .

Next week we have the opportunity once again to support the work of teacher leadership teams in five of our schools and two departments. Our goals are to:

• Continue our focus on understanding Classroom 10 at a deeper level with a specific focus for the day on key content.
• Bring clarity to the role of the teacher leader in the Classroom 10 work and the work at the building level.
• Share mental models and skills to increase the capacity of teacher leaders to provide support for their colleagues. The focus for Wednesday is on culture and tools to move towards communities of trust from communities of complaint.
• Provide time in the afternoon for teams to reflect on their learning and to focus on a building need of their choice.

I work with Connie Hoffman to plan these learning opportunities. They are energizing for me and times that I enjoy planning for and sharing my thinking with those in our system with the ability to influence our work. Even though I play a small role, I spend considerable time considering what to focus on and where the leverage is to support increased system leadership capacity.

In planning for Wednesday, I have read and/or reviewed the leadership books pictured below. They use different words and models, but there are themes that run through all of them. One of those that I will focus on Wednesday is the barriers to skillful conversations. We can all identify many of these barriers, but we are not all skillful at facilitating through them to identify issues and concerns of all participants.

Part of what I will be sharing, is the need for us to ensure in conversations that we facilitate that all participate and contribute. Of particular importance is the need to know what each person is observing, thinking, feeling, and wanting at the time. Since all of us have the need to make sense of our experiences, when people do not share these experiences during the meeting, we make up a story with answers to those questions for others in the room. It is these made up stories that result in our mental models that over time make our work much more difficult because the stories come from our assumptions, not the thoughts and feelings of the others on the team.

I’m energized just thinking about it as I believe that our future success is dependent on our capacity to distribute leadership to those with the greatest capacity to influence this work, our teachers.

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