Philosophy of leadership 2


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Philosophy of leadership 2

  1. 1. PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP 1 Philosophy of Leadership 2 There are many concepts that can delineate what it is to be a leader in the world of education today. With the ever-growing need to advance the level of achievement in education and the increasing emphasis on accountability for educators, a larger pool of individuals are being empowered with the task of leadership in their own schools and districts. With the reinvention of leadership and the creation of new leadership positions, the characteristics and capacity of leadership roles begins to vary significantly. Likewise, individual leaders may view his or her own purpose in a far different way based upon his or her developed philosophy of leadership. Categorically, the way a leader views his appointed role and their philosophical approach to that role can greatly impact his success and self efficacy. Personally, I feel that any quality leader is first and foremost a listener with the attentiveness to take notice of what is actually occurring in his school and with his faculty and students. Second, leadership necessitates being firm but yet compassionate in most every situation, or else failing to realize the true nature of leadership. Third, it is necessary for a leader to feel passionately about his work and its purpose in the realm of education in order to develop a level of efficacy that drives him to further success. Additionally, a leader must be competent and adaptive in order to become a more capable leader, aspiring to grow into and develop further in their leadership role. My personal philosophy of leadership has developed in understanding the importance of these qualities, and witnessing the prerequisites that a person must have within their character to become a good leader. As such, my views in each of the following areas of leadership are shaped by the importance I feel should be placed on the aforementioned
  2. 2. PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP 2 traits of a leader. School Environment: As with any profession, the success and longevity of the leadership depends upon the way they run things. Of this, the environment that is created by the leader plays an important role. Additionally, how those who are hired contribute to that environment are [is] another key factor. In all, any leader must consider what kind of environment he wishes to establish and the impact it will have on success. Personally, I feel that the most productive environment is one where boundaries are understood. Furthermore, personal experience has shown me that a school environment where individuals feel respected and appreciated can greatly influence motivation. Mostly, however, I feel that a school environment can be arranged so that people know they are a good fit for the school and that they know they bring something to the school’s culture, growth, and family. Leaders as Vehicles for Change: Changes in education are powerful vehicles that inevitable shape and lead to future growth in schools. They are the unavoidable reality that process must be adaptive, as learners and educators are immensely different. With the role of leadership in education, one must consider how he will impact educational change within his own school. Additionally, it is important to consider how a leader will partake in seeking change or progressing change. Many times, those teachers and leaders who are established in their own routines
  3. 3. PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP 3 and rituals of learning view changes that develop in world of education negatively. As such, many leaders fail to give credence to the most important aspect of the changes proposed. Above all else, educational movements that seek to change the status quo in the classroom or the workroom need to be viewed as what they are; changes geared towards creating a better educational experience for the students. (T. Brown, personal communication, May 25, 2010). Personally, I understand that a shift from the predictable can be unsettling for many people, while others thrive on the challenge of something constantly being put before them. As a person who falls somewhere in the middle of this comfort spectrum, I believe that I could bring a sense of understanding to the purpose behind change. I feel this is important, in that it could be a comfort to both groups of teachers, of whom I would be in charge. I believe that this ability to refocus the worries and the excitement of the teachers would help to bring back into focus the real goal of educational change, [;] being a guiding force of helping students grow by supplementing their learning experiences with the best of what is available. Additionally, I believe that it poses a competence level to evaluate proposed changes based upon what research is available, and present such supporting data to increase support. (Allred, 2008) School Achievement/Curriculum Management: Although many principals and school system directors think of school achievement as something that revolves around pressures from higher powers, it is also something of which they should morally feel obligated to improve. For all schools, their achievement level is a direct expression of what skills they have worked towards
  4. 4. PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP 4 providing their students. In such a manner, school achievement is therefore a guiding indicator of the school’s success at carrying out its most basic purpose: to empower students with knowledge and the ability to apply and benefit from that knowledge. Despite the negative stress that comes along with analysis of school achievement, there is also the positive stress factor when facing the good results of working diligently towards goals. I believe that the any school leader should be concerned with helping his school progress beyond part performance, without simply laying a new level of stress and expectations at the feet of his teachers. In order to help a school progress, the school leader should expect to be part of the research into ways that his school can improve or meet expectations. This can be done by creating committees in charge of examining particular aspects of what changes need to be made, as well as what options are available and have proven successful for similar schools. In essence, the school leader should be proactive in pursuing improvement, but equally active in working towards those improvements. (Shavelson, 2008) Managing the School: In education, some schools are faced with the task of doing a great deal with only a very limited amount. Understanding that means understanding that what is available must be cared for in order to make it work most efficiently. For any leader, this specific issue makes it imperative to be conscious of the way in which materials and finances are managed and used by the school. (C. Hickman, personal communication, May 18, 2010). In order to take on the vast responsibility of managing a school, particularly its finances and physical structures, a leader must divide responsibilities into the hands of
  5. 5. PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP 5 capable individuals who oversee and report back to the school leader. A competent school leader must be able to ensure that these individuals are trustworthy, knowledgeable, and capable of doing the expected tasks. Additionally, the leader needs to understand that these are still his responsibilities, whereas the employed individuals only act as an extension of the principal to achieve the accomplishment of the necessary tasks. (R. Underwood, personal communication, June 15, 2010). For any leader, one of the constant portions of managing the school is managing the physical plant of the school building. In that regard, leaders’ own buildings should be one of the most valuable charges: i.e. much like a person’s own home, the appearance of even the tiny details of the school facility expresses considerable information about the care and pride that the school’s leader places upon that school. Much the same as what is observed; students will also reflect that same level of pride in the school. On top of this factor, there is also the acknowledgement that the appearance of the school can directly affect the way the students, faculty, and community treat the facility. Staffing: Any school is only as good as its leader and its personnel. Therefore, one very critical consideration that any school leader must make is whether or not the school is operating productively based upon the school’s personnel. An essential part of this contemplation depends upon if the right people are in the right positions within the school. As such, it is the role of the principal to ensure that careful consideration is made about where teachers are placed and what roles they are assigned. I believe that being willing to follow through with decisions about placement can only lead to finding the
  6. 6. PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP 6 right answers about where everyone belongs. Another eminent factor that school leaders must consider is the idea of hiring the right person when an opening is available. It is exceptionally important that the principal take the time to truly consider how those being interviewed will add to or create difficulties within a setting, as most every position being filled have more factors to consider than just the one person being hired. Also, knowing how the team they will become a part of operates is equally important. With all of this, one thing to remember is that sometimes the person hired just is not who they were expected to be, and therefore may not fit the school. It is necessary that a leader be strong and capable of making the crucial decisions of removing staff that are hindering the school’s growth. Equally, the principal must also be able to carefully consider and evaluate how rearranging staff with impact the school’s dynamics. Although it can be difficult for some personnel to understand the need for the change in their placement, it is crucial that a leader be able to build a confidence level in the personnel that any change will be for success. In all, the school’s leader should be prepared to place careful thought into each staffing decision, while remembering that changes can be made if necessary. (Dr. J. Moorhouse, personal communication, June 1, 2010).
  7. 7. PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP 7 School Leaders-Student Relationships: One of my most central ideas about education consists of detailing the purpose of the educational system. In any educational setting, the student as a learner is and should always be the majority of the focus of the educational process. Developing a student into a learner who grows beyond the state in which they arrived should be the essential goal of any educational program. Essentially, the learner’s outcome is far more important than most all other aspects of what takes place. As a leader, I believe that placing expectations of growth on the student is essential to helping them achieve. I feel that any good leader should encourage an atmosphere of greater expectations for learning, where the students as learners and the teachers are both inspire to excel to their fullest. While putting these into practice, the leader must be encouraging and make clear their belief in each learner’s abilities to achieve and grow. With that, it would seem that everyone involved in the education would feel a greater sense of accomplishment when goals were attained, as well as a sense of ownership over the process. Importantly, another facade of the school leader-student relationship cannot be overlooked, as it can be one very crucial stabilizer to achieving the goals of learning. This issue deals with seeing the student as a person who has needs and issues that sometimes can hinder any other aspects of the educational process for that particular child. I believe that is important that the school leader model a program of finding what hinders children’s learning. (Black, 1998) In realizing this, I believe that a leader’s role in this regard is to essentially put in place all of the necessary supports that can be made available for that child. At the same time, the leader should be a role model and support
  8. 8. PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP 8 for the child when appropriate. School Leaders-Personnel Relationships: As an educational leader, I believe it is essential that one must be able to lead their personnel first and foremost. This fundamentally begins with inspiring those that the leader leads. (Hopkins, 2002) Many factors can contribute to this ability. Through respect, empathetic decision-making, and appreciation, educational leaders are more likely to be successful in leading their personnel to advancing their achievements. I strongly believe that the first essential ingredient in a successful relationship between a school’s leadership and the school’s personnel begins with respect. As much as earning respect is imperative, leaders must command the respect of those whom they lead, while also demonstrating they are deserving of such respect. Along these lines of respect, there should also be a mutual respect for the burden that the leadership carries, as well as respect for the successes that the personnel strive to achieve. In all, this mutual respect should also include a distinction between the personnel and the leadership, with clear boundaries and expectations. Although it is imperative that an educational leader must separate themselves in some aspects from those whom they lead, it is also important to consider the fact that many personnel want to feel their leader is one of them. Having an empathetic approach to leadership is one way in which the personnel can feel that their feelings and situations are appreciated, understood, and considered by their leader. With this type of approach, personnel are more likely to feel that their leader is making decisions with the personnel in mind.
  9. 9. PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP 9 School Leaders-Community/Parent Relationships: One critical aspect to being a good leader is that of being able to understand and establish a good relationship with the community at large. (The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement, 2005) For most situations, the school leaders finds that the community holds them accountable and feels it is they who have granted the power of leadership to the principal. For any school leader, having an understanding of the expectations of the community is one of the best ways to build a working, interactive relationship with parents and other community members. This is, essentially, the key to success. Although the particulars do usually vary, there are a few expectations that the community holds to be true: the students are the most important part of the school; the school is expected to perform in some capacity to the likes of the community; and the school’s leadership is accountable for any missteps or underwhelming performance that may occur. Considering these items, I believe that it is most significant for the school leader to express how the school is living up to these expectations through various means. Having the interactive relationship with the parents/community does ease the difficulties of demonstrating how the school is living up to expectations much better than a strained or non-existent relationship. In such dealings, there are many aspects to consider and beliefs upon which one must stand firm. The foremost aspect is that the majority of parents are not very involved in the school. The usual arrangement is that a small percentage of parents/community members are the same ones participating in all of the functions hosted by the school. To
  10. 10. PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP 10 remedy this issue, a school leader must be proactive in initiating conversation with parents and the community, creating events that are both engaging and give consideration to the variety of parents and community members. It is also of importance that the leader encourages faculty members to open dialogue with parents and create positive interactions between the two. Technology Use / Tools for Learning: Although technology cannot be a replacement for exceptional teaching and good planning, it can be a tool, that when utilized effectively, brings about a brilliant educational benefit to the classroom. As such, technology is constantly growing and being more tailored to be of assistance to teachers and leaders in schools, whether to provide instruction or speed up the process of assessment. In all, educational technology is a means by which any educational leader must be willing to utilize in his school in order to provide a thorough education to students. (L. Uhrenholt, personal communication, June 8, 2010). As a technophile, I frequently find myself attracted to and seeking out the latest technologies. I also constantly look at how these new technologies could be used in my classroom or to help relate information to the way today’s students think. It is important for all teachers to be aware of available tools and to understand that certain tools are beneficial for the development of solid teaching strategies. As such, I feel that a knowledgeable educational leader must be prepared to look at technologies available and encourage teachers to explore those that prove practical and beneficial to the learning process.
  11. 11. PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP 11 Myself as a Leader: In evaluating myself in regards to what I see as keys to being a good leader, I believe that my goals of leadership are very much attainable. I hold that I value leadership that puts ownership and pride in the hands of all those involved, as well as promoting a feeling of being valuable. I feel that I understand myself as an individual, with my own needs within a group and my own point of view. I find that I am encouraging of others and capable to helping other look at what they have accomplished and where they must go. I most often find myself thinking diligently about the choices I make daily, especially in how they affect others. I believe this is of great importance in the role of leader.
  12. 12. PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP 12 References Allred, C. G. (1998). The positive action model for comprehensive school reform: An agent for whole-school change and parent & community involvement. Retrieved from ERIC database. Black, P. and D. William (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 5.1, 7-74. Retrieved from InfoTrac Onefile database. Brown, T. (2010, May). School reform efforts through the recent legislative changes. In Dr. E. Walker, Management of the School/EDUC 573. Lecture conducted from Carson-Newman College, Jefferson City, TN. The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement (2005). Meeting the challenge of involving parents in school. Retrieved from ERIC database. Hickman, C. (2010, May). Facility management. In Dr. E. Walker, Management of the School/EDUC 573. Lecture conducted from Carson-Newman College, Jefferson City, TN. Hopkins, G. (2002, November 19). 25 ways to motivate teachers. Retrieved from Moorhouse, J. (2010, June). Human relations. In Dr. E. Walker, Management of the School/EDUC 573. Lecture conducted from Carson-Newman College, Jefferson City, TN.
  13. 13. PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP 13 Shavelson, R. J. and D. B. Young (2008). On the impact of curriculum-embedded formative assessment on learning: collaboration between curriculum and assessment developers. Applied Measurement in Education, 21(4), 295-314. Retrieved from ERIC database. Uhrenholt, L. (2010, June). Technology. In Dr. E. Walker, Management of the School/ EDUC 573. Lecture conducted from Carson-Newman College, Jefferson City, TN. Underwood, R. (2010, June). Fiscal management. In Dr. E. Walker, Management of the School/EDUC 573. Lecture conducted from Carson-Newman College, Jefferson City, TN.