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Philosophy of Leadership 3<br />The ideals leading toward a career path in administrative leadership often become clouded ...
Philosophy of leadership 3
Philosophy of leadership 3
Philosophy of leadership 3
Philosophy of leadership 3
Philosophy of leadership 3
Philosophy of leadership 3
Philosophy of leadership 3
Philosophy of leadership 3
Philosophy of leadership 3
Philosophy of leadership 3
Philosophy of leadership 3
Philosophy of leadership 3
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Philosophy of leadership 3

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Philosophy of leadership 3

  1. 1. Philosophy of Leadership 3<br />The ideals leading toward a career path in administrative leadership often become clouded as reality sets in and sometimes direction can be lost as the new administrator begins the job. Study, research, and the many plans formulated to make changes in the name of improving education will meet with issues, problems, differentiated agendas and any other assortment of barriers to progress. These new administrators are required to develop skills and discover ways to utilize their resources to circumnavigate these barriers if progress is to take place. It is easy to visualize what the end product should be, and appreciate how accomplishment would make the educational environment nicer, more productive, and how these improvements would promulgate learning. The importance in developing an administrative philosophy is to take these ideas, foster their growth, and prepare the thought processes for ways to manage the many trials along the way. Considering the many administrative objectives and the many different ways any event can unfold are part of preparing to lead. Knowing, or at the very least having ideas for responding no matter how things turn out helps administrators to make decisions, offer alternatives, and to point in a direction that leads toward a productive path in accomplishing objectives. Incorporating The Interstate Leadership Licensure Consortium standards is a positive approach for leaders in today’s schools. Continuous improvement in our leadership skills increases our capabilities and steers leadership toward development of a learning community. Gathering knowledge that leads to solutions is work that must be done in order for progress to be achieved. Assessing and applying resources including time offers another aspect for approaching and accomplishing these educational objectives. Combined incorporating standards, improving skills, gathering knowledge, assessing and applying resources become this administrators approach to accomplishing the educational objectives of our time.<br />The conceptual framework for a new type of school leader was initially provided by the six standards for school leadership developed by the Interstate School Leadership Licensure Consortium (ISLLC). That consortium developed a set of six standards: 1) The Vision of Learning 2) The Culture of Teaching and Learning 3) The Management of Learning 4) Relationships with the broader community to foster Learning 5) Integrity, fairness, ethics in learning 6) The political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context of learning. These six ISLLC standards are designed for guiding the changing role of the school leader (Stader2007). <br />Today’s educational setting seems to measure success more by the ability to adapt and change, than by maintaining tradition. In an environment where the world is now available at the touch of a button and the explosion of the availability of information is only compounded by the speed in which that information is transmitted, requires leadership that has the training, understanding and ability to respond correctly with the same knowledge and speed. Change in the direction we are headed is now almost instantaneous, as evidenced by the multitude of results from the September eleven attacks, and so are the conflicts that will always find their way to the halls of the school. If it were only the teachers, administrators, and parents that faced these ensuing changes, along with more information than we care to face, and the resulting conflicts, things would surely be tough enough. Through the various means of electronic communication our students are no longer sheltered from these very same issues. They face these challenges without the years of experience we have been afforded to guide their responses or offer options as their frustrations flare. At one time, reading about these ISLLC standards would have been good for theorists and the shelf space taken up by that book would have appeared intelligent for its owner. Its use, at the very best, would only be mentioned in the school setting. Today our administrators find themselves facing the same problems as our students and having to work to find solutions. The rights and privacy of all individuals are continuously being challenged in this technological information age. If these ISLLC standards offer our administrators a manner for which we should face these challenges, why would we not incorporate these same standards into the teaching we offer to our students. As a generation we are challenged to offer solutions for which these many people can work and operate together. Surely we have the wisdom to visualize that the schools are where those lessons will be tested and learned. Our schools, relying on these standards, will be required to conceptualize, incorporate and teach ways to resolve these problems.<br />The various ways in which information is passed becomes the avenue for work to get done. Administrators will find the better use of all of these modes of communication will offer the opportunity to increase efficiency and effectiveness for the accomplishment of objectives. Mass communication tools such as newspaper, radio, and television offer an outstanding avenue in which to disseminate information. Because these tools offer only one direction of communication, there is no retracting these messages once they are passed out. Furthermore text messaging is only as reliable as the one sending the message. Intercom announcements serve little purpose unless they are given proper attention. Mail, email, and faxes may be used as official documents. There are lessons to be learned with each of these many forms of communication and understanding the strengths and weaknesses behind each one of these requires the attention of the one sending the message.<br />Communication is not just a set of words. The manner in which a message is passed controls as much meaning as the words themselves. Leaders will find that people will behave in the same manner as the leader. Communicating calm and resolve will instill the same type of responses. There are calculated times when emphasizing the importance of a message will serve to motivate those involved, but this emphasis must be used sparingly or the effect is lost. Timing plays an important role in communication. Just like those teachable moments found in the classroom there is a best time and place to deliver a message. The opportunities to effect change, persuade, or gain compliance, will improve with proper timing or place. The setting used to deliver messages is a poignant aspect of communication. Considering the setting from the receiving point of view and making it important enough to change the variables can be very effective.<br />Gathering information, delivering a note, and having conversations is best, for administrators, if delivered in commons areas. The appearance of casual interaction is as important to the recipient as formal conferences. If the information is most pertinent, visiting the teacher’s classroom or the student during class sends that message. This type of conference leaves no time for rehearsed or guarded answers offering an element of surprise for the administrator. Calling an individual to the office area also contains the surprise element but will bring more guarded responses to questions. The walk to the office offers the chance to question all that is going on and to consider any possible answers. Calling for and setting a meeting in a conference room allows a person the opportunity to prepare and formulate answers and support. There are times when these are the types of responses the administrator is looking for and should be used for such occasions. Conference room meetings should usually involve more than two individuals but is not imperative. Having a meeting in the administrator’s office shifts the power dynamics in the direction of the administrator and formalizes the conversation. It is in this room where agreements and decisions are finalized and authority is most evident. Having a closed door meeting in an office or conference room addresses the seriousness and confidentiality of the ensuing conversation. It is well known that closed door meetings are not to be interrupted and it is better not to be the one that meeting is about. Adding others to the conversation or meeting also changes the dynamics of the conversation and the message being sent. Establishing a setting that elicits the information needed and making the office or conference room have the importance they should are two factors that will offer options and opportunities to the administrator who uses them as such.<br />Authority can be defined as a right granted to a manager to make decisions within limitations, to assign duties to subordinates, and to require subordinates’ conformance to expected behavior (Gorton, & Alston, 2009). With the granting of authority, so too should power and responsibility be granted. For administrators this is passed down the hierarchy as the different positions will dictate. There are times when individuals or groups will grant authority to a colleague out of trust elevating the position of their role with authority, power, and influence. Those leaders who rely more on their personal power than on their job title or credentials are the leaders most able to mobilize resources, instill confidence, motivate those under their authority, and encourage their creativity. Formal authority only promotes compliance with directives and discipline, but does not encourage employees to exert effort, to accept responsibilities, or to exercise initiative (Gorton, & Alston, 2009). Administrators should work to gain the trust and personal power from those they lead and too should empower those that gain that trust from them.<br />Power represents the capacity or potential of effecting desired results in one or more persons that would not have otherwise occurred. Influence is the ability without actual recourse to force or affect another’s behavior (Gorton, & Alston, 2009). The concern within a school setting becomes how authority, power, and influence are used. These concerns never seem of any consequence to those involved until people or groups are required to do things they don’t want to do. As administrators, developing fully the steps and procedures to attain objectives becomes the task. Making smooth unchallenged transitions to change are the goal for administrators but will not always be possible. In the times when people or groups resist compliance, administrator’s use of power, authority, and influence will be required and will suddenly be of consequence to all who are watching. Again, constant attendance to the standards of professionalism will help to guide the proper use of authority, power, and influence.<br />The school building provides the natural stage for practically all social issues, problems, and conflicts to escalate and demand attention. Administrators will be required to manage these conflicts as they arise regardless of those involved. Conflicts are going to occur between: student and student, student and parent, student and teacher, student and administrator, parent and parent, teacher and parent, administrator and parent, teacher and administrator, and administrator versus administrator. Each one of these dynamics requires that the position and rights of the individual and the specifics of the conflict are given proper consideration. Being proactive instead of reactive in the face of conflict offers the administration more options to manage it and attempt to approach resolution. Remember as an administrator one of the first key components is to listen to the problems and concerns of others. M. Florence (personal communication, June 8, 2010). As conflict appears, making the effort to resolve the issues before disciplinary actions are necessary requires some effort but reduces the cost to all involved. Teaching proper management of conflict serves more purpose than waiting for punishment to be required. This proactive approach allows those in conflict to be informed of the ramifications of their actions. Defining differences, establishing some common ground, and reaching consensus about parts of the whole, offer opportunities to move beyond the reasons for conflict. It is in these areas that administrators must search for ways to offer solutions for the times when conflict invades the school atmosphere. Understanding that some conflicts will never reach resolution and will continue to escalate regardless of the efforts to thwart is why administrators must manage conflict. There is a point in which the administrator will be forced to invoke sanctions or move the conflict to other jurisdictions in order to insure the safety of others. When rationality and reason are no longer part of the equation or violence is eminent the safety of others will overrule.<br />Reading individual case studies, considering the many facets of the existing problem, and writing down a carefully thought out plan to offer the chance for solution comes nowhere close to mimicking the decision making process that administrators face beginning the minute they walk in the doors. Every problem that is brought before an administrator’s desk is important to someone and there are a multitude of them. While the school leadership may truly want to apply all that is necessary in each of these cases, they also realize that efficiency of time management and classifying the importance of each subject are part of the decisions made by administrators as they manage the components of the school day. As it is the requirement of the administration to make decisions, many of them each day, so too is it their requirement to work to make those decisions right as much as possible. As decisions are made, authorizing and delegating the means necessary to get the work done successfully become part of the duties and equation. Proper delegation of responsibilities and duties requires also the checking to make sure those duties are carried out and assessing whether the needed resources were offered. Decision making, while having the appearance of choosing one of a few options, now becomes a process toward completion and carries with it a great deal more weight and effort.<br />“The words ‘lead,’ ‘leader,’ and ‘leadership,’ share as their common root the word ‘to go.’ Leading, at its roots, is about going places, about movement, and about guiding. Leadership serves as a prominent component of a philosophy in administration” (Kouzes, 2009). The transformational leader shares power, inspires others to leadership and encourages participation and involvement of all members in executing the schools purpose (Ubben, Hughes, & Norris, 2007).<br />Examining the word leadership, implies four concepts; movement, direction, ability, and followers. In order to lead movement, from one place or state of existence to another, must be part of the process. Failure to progress or the movement that progresses great distances becomes a reflection of the leader. Movement itself does not measure or define leadership. Direction points to the achievement leaders are moving those under them. In a school setting the goal for the students would be toward graduation and preparation for life after school. For the teachers the school leadership would want to direct toward professional development, productivity, and an improved learning environment. There are times when direction under school leadership regrettably does not end with these results and the school leaders must weigh the well being of the school and the many it serves with that of individuals who have not complied with the direction of the school. Leadership in this aspect will not be the brightest moments for those in administrative positions. The ability to lead is reflected in the group that is willing to follow such leadership. There are a number of factors, too many to investigate here, that influence this component of leadership. However, ability to lead without movement or direction resembles more the popularity of a person than defining their leadership. Assembling the group that will be led offers a great examination into the character of the leadership in an organization. The types of employees sought after and the recognition of valued behaviors within the group being led offers insight to the values of the leaders and also the types of people willing to follow such an individual. <br /> The School Improvement Plan should serve as a central focus for leadership (Ubben, Hughes, & Norris, 2007). This plan offers direction, attends to the schools concerns in productivity, and becomes the mode for transformation from the existing in times of change. According to Sharon Latendresse two key aspects are involved for accomplishment. First, the many jobs required in developing the school improvement plan must be delegated so that ownership of it can be transferred to the teachers. Second the action plans must correlate with the data from the many forms of assessment within the school. S.Latendresse (personal communication, May 17, 2010) The school improvement plan offers the principal opportunities and tools to involve, empower, and improve the working relationship of the staff. The orchestrator of this complex process of school improvement must be the school principal (Ubben, Hughes, & Norris, 2007). The actions exemplified in using and implementing this plan by the principal will be replicated by the staff and will define its usefulness to get work done within the operations of the school. It is important that there be congruence between what the principals say, and what they actually do or demonstrate (Ubben, Hughes, & Norris, 2007). As change is implemented the mobilization already created through school improvement planning will make that process easier. <br />It is the responsibility of the administrator to foster the culture of the learning community (Rebore, 2007). While it is certain that the actions of each administrator will impact the organizational culture of the school, the concern associated with this aspect is whether the administrator does so in such a manner that learning is promoted or impeded. Establishing the need for all to work together, the importance in achieving our objectives, and the understanding that success or failure will be shared is imperative to the success of the school culture. Regardless of the results of last year, changes in the staff, changes in position, and the changes in responsibilities require the addressing of school culture each academic year. Defining and describing responsibilities for all the constituents, establishing the individual duties, identifying the educational systems that must be managed throughout the year, examining the federal, and state mandates, converting those mandates into objectives, and making everyone understand that we must work together to get this important work done offers the opportunity to define our reliance on each other. Over the years, William Kee, the long time principal at Central High School in Camden Tennessee, was a master at addressing this. Each year he would address these many duties and responsibilities during the first staff meeting, identifying changes for the veterans, addressing any changes in responsibilities for staff members, and making new staff members understand our reliance on each other to get everything done. This one meeting set the stage for working together while redefining the staff’s identity each academic year. W. Kee (personal communication, May 14, 2010)<br />Federal “Race to the Top Legislation”, modifications to NCLB, the state mandated increase in credits required for graduating, and the introduction of performance based teacher evaluation are just a few of the changes that have been a part of the last year in education. “The effects of these mandated changes are not yet fully understood and the implications not completely felt”. C. Lumpkin (personal communication, May 8, 2010) Dependent upon the given situation, different change theories will provide the best way to solve problems. Developing the standards and the educational objectives that address these mandates will aide to identify the needs for implementation and best methods for introducing change. Diffusion theory has its place in effecting change. Organization Development and Innovation configuration provide tools for refining and institutionalizing complex innovations. Stages of concern and Levels of use both offer definition and direction for those involved in change (Hall, & Hord, 2006). The understanding of leaders to recognize behaviors and know the best ways to respond is a process in itself. Just as trust and knowledge are components that are used to lead change so too is understanding.<br />There are a great deal of resources and expenses required to maintain and operate a school. Each of these resources is limited and so are the funds. As it should be, different accounts carry restrictions on spending. Even the general account for a school carries specific restrictions on the spending of said funds. Proper accounting for the expenditures and accounts received within a school demonstrates the attention to protecting our investments that administrators should do with all of its resources working to get the most out of taxpayer dollars. Developing a strong understanding of known resources, and the ability to stretch the funds while, also finding and applying for grants, are activities that the administration should demonstrate, encourage and foster within the staff. Caring for the resources we have, doing the work to obtain grants, investing in the future of education, and passing these same attributes on to the students instills pride in the staff, students, and community and should be the guiding principles of managing a schools resources.<br />Time, just like money and materials are limited and valued resources that should be treated as such. For the administrative leadership managing this resource requires considering the problems if it is not managed properly. An administrator that bogs themselves down in the labor portion of work runs out of time to do the work required of themselves and can slow progress. The administrator that gives the impression that any task requiring labor is beneath them will influence others to think the same way. Like the many other aspects of leadership assigning time allotments requires prioritizing the jobs, attention, and the amount of time needed to get that work done. Delegating and assigning the time and resources to accomplish the task, and on occasions offering the labor to complete a job offers many opportunities to lead. Managing time for employees, the school, and yourself so that work can be accomplished in the most reasonable manner will make for a smooth operation in the daily work required in a school.<br />Knowledge and the search for it, offers the basis for the states responsibility to provide public education to the youth of this state. Assessment and the use of its results to promote learning and improve education remains the focus and is the driving force for the work being done in the classroom. For administrators the search for knowledge, assessment of progress, and the use of both in making informed administrative decisions serves two very important purposes First, it is imperative to use all resources available to make the best decisions possible while leading the school and to make that decision the right one by allocating means to accomplish that decision. Second, it is the charge of the school leadership to instill the values it finds necessary to properly conduct the business of the school. By demonstrating these values as the administrators conduct their own business others are encouraged and reinforced to do the same.<br />As the students watch the behaviors of the teachers in the classroom so too will the teachers, students, and parents of the school and community as administrators interact and perform their duties. Demonstrating proper leadership activity will elicit those same behaviors. The only problem behind this concept is that others will also mimic observed inappropriate conduct. For new administrators in many cases there is a learning curve for growing accustomed to having the attention of all within eyes sight. The analogy that the microscope we are under becomes magnified holds very true and requires getting used to for those moving into administration. Examining the many aspects of administration reminds us that attention to professionalism serves as a guiding light and behaving in that same manner offers example that others may follow.<br />References<br />Gorton, R.A, & Alston, J.A. (2009). School leadership and administration. New York: McGraw- Hill.<br />Hall, Gene E., & Hord, Shirley M. (2006). Implementing change patterns, principles, and potholes. Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.<br />Kouzes, K. (2009, January 26). The Origins of leadership. Retrieved from http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00e008c9a00488340105<br />Rebore, R.W. & Walmsley, A.L.E. (2007). An Evidence based approach to the practice of educational leadership. United States: Pearson Education Inc.<br />Stader, David. (2007). Law and ethics in educational leadership. Columbus, OH: Prentice Hall.<br />Ubben, G.C., Hughes, L.W., & Norris, C.J. (2007). The Principal: creative leadership for excellence in schools. United States: Pearson.<br />

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