ETL504. Module 2. Leading Change

Great leadership empowers a vision to become reality. The style of leadership you present or adhere to will always involve change in order to make the vision a reality. How you lead change will have an impact on how well the change is implemented and eventually accepted. 

Leading change requires both an understanding of your leadership style and styles of others around you, as well as a vision for how the change or decisions you make will impact on staff, students and learning outcomes. Tapscott presents his view of an open leadership model for the future that includes the core principles in managing change in an open environment.

Don Tapscott outlined 4 principles of an open world:

  1. Collaboration
  2. Transparency
  3. Sharing
  4. Empowerment

 How can these principles be applied to school libraries or teacher librarians? Consider how this understanding of the 4 principles can support you in leading change at your school or in your school library?

As a teacher librarian collaboration with all members of staff is vital when planning, organising, identifying and acquiring the appropriate resources necessary to satisfy the curriculum requirements and outcomes of both students and teachers. Teacher librarians can illustrate effective leadership decisions by collaborating with all relevant staff members in any decisions regarding the selection of curriculum resources or information programs. They can use professional development opportunities to confidently demonstrate implementation of these changes to other staff members.

Transparency in decision making is very important when a leader initiates any organisational or curriculum changes and the teacher librarian would be expected to justify any decisions by providing evidence such as data to support their thinking. By sharing all information or ideas with other relevant staff members every individual is part of the decision making process and more inclined to work towards a successful outcome, and everyone is empowered to positively contribute towards a cooperative team effort.

The 4 principles can support me to lead change in the attitudes towards the roles of teacher librarians within a school. By demonstrating effective leadership decisions regarding different approaches towards resource selection and changes to how information literacy is taught, a teacher librarian can positively initiate changes to attitudes and entrenched organisational structures throughout the school by encouraging more efficient and constructive information programs and procedures designed to provide more successful learning outcomes from both students and teachers in line with 21st century educational ideology and direction.

To lead a change process you will need to work with others through teams and collaborative projects. To work in teams, whether the team is in the library or virtually, you will need to build a team. Teamwork and collaboration are effective tools for change in a dynamic environment such as a school. Great teams build synergy so that you get more done or in a shorter time frame.

How have you participated in teams? What is your opinion as to their efficiency?

 I have participated in several professional teams such as Wellbeing, Curriculum or  R. E. which required staff to plan, organise, and facilitate school events or specific occasions. Team efficiency depended on the collaboration, cooperation and attitudes of the relevant teachers involved. If all teachers were positively committed to the projects or activities there was very efficient teamwork, but if one staff member didn’t cooperate or ‘pull their weight’ there was a less than efficient result and the team became dysfunctional. Leadership was a contributing factor in all team outcomes.

As a teacher librarian you will need to build a variety of teams within your library as well as collaborative teams of teachers in order to work together on collaborative projects as well as virtual teams as eLearning develops across your school.

Innovation in school libraries is a critical component of meeting the needs of a changing education environment and the changes in student learning needs, as technology is further embedded in everyday life.

A teacher librarian as a leader seeks to identify the learning needs of the school community and develops programs, curriculum offerings or information access to meet these needs. Innovation and the processes of managing the change this requires is part of the toolkit of a teacher librarian.

Are you a:

  • Critic
  • Victim
  • Bystander OR a
  • Navigator?

I have been all four categories at various times of my working life, but as a future teacher librarian I aspire to be a navigator as a leader inspiring change within our 21st century information age.

Watch the video Changed Management in 1 minute and reflect on when you have known people who take one of these roles.

The critic is someone who usually aspires to be a leader but who lacks confidence to commit to the role or who lacks the knowledge required for the position. So they criticise every decision or change because it makes them feel powerful or superior to question decisions they would lack the confidence to initiate or change.

The victim is someone who feels they are entitled to a leadership role because of seniority, more experienced or it’s their rightful place, but who would not be comfortable advocating change or making decisions and would take any criticism personally or an attempt to usurp their position. They would fail to be objective.

The bystander is someone who lacks the confidence to become a leader because they don’t wish to be in a position to make the tough decisions or make changes that may be unpopular with other team members. They like to stand back and follow the leader as part of a team rather than make constructive suggestions or ideas.

The navigator is someone who is innovative and confident with their goals and makes positive decisions to achieve these goals by including all members of the team when initiating changes and making pertinent decisions, by encouraging and praising their efforts and celebrating successes. They earn respect, commitment and trust from their team members.

What innovation has occurred in your school or work environment in recent times?

The implementation of iPads for use throughout the school is the innovation that I consider to have had the most impact on the school community, because it involved a complete change in teaching and learning practices which affected both teaching staff and students perspectives and approaches to learning.

How has the implementation of this innovation been managed?

The implementation was planned, organised and managed over two years after extensive research and consultation by the schools administrative leaders and level coordinators within a collaborative, shared initiative (Tapscott, 2013). Working basically through trial and error, any ‘teething problems’ experienced were assessed  by the leadership team  taking a problem-solving approach, and successfully addressed through a positive, inquisitive and creative team effort, to everyone’s satisfaction (Kotter).

What current aspect of your own work could have “an inquisitive mind” lens applied to solve an existing problem?

An existing problem that would benefit from ‘an inquisitive mind’ lens would be the sharing of resources by all staff into a commonly shared file or collection tool such as Diigo. Just this one simple action would extend staff collaboration and sharing, from several teams to one united team, intent on providing the best learning resources for the whole school community to share rather than for use only by individual curriculum areas.

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