Bec in the library

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

504: Module 2, leadership styles March 15, 2012

Filed under: ETL504 — becinthelibrary @ 10:46 am
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Required reading

Leadership That Gets Results by Daniel Goleman.

Reading response

Positive styles: coaching (try this), authoritative (come with me), affiliative (people come first), democratic (what do you think?)

Negative styles: pace setting (do as I do), coercive (do what I tell you)

Which ones resonate with me personally?

In my heart I love knowing someone cares about me and understands my needs so obviously the affiliative style would be great for me. Likewise, having an expert show me what to do as a suggestion, as in a team teaching situation (coaching style) is a great way for me to learn as I am highly interpersonal. I also place a very high priority on being allowed my say, being heard and feeling like my opinion is worthy and important so having a leader who shows the democratic style would be super. However, the biggest weakness I would perceive in these styles (for ME and the way I work) is that the hard decisions wouldn’t get made as the leader is too busy making sure everyone is OK/has a voice/tried lots of different things. Sometimes leaders just have to suck up the fact that not everyone will be happy.

And there in lies the whole point Goleman is making: all styles are useful and important but only when used at the right time, in the right situation. A great forum post remarked that the styles are like tools in a tool box – all necessary and all handy, just don’t hammer a screw. So apt!

Whilst I would love to see myself as embodying all those positive styles most often, I have to admit that my most common style, or what really resonate with me as a “yep, that’s what I do/think/say” is the authoritative with a fair dash of coercive and pace-setting! I have an idea or a vision, I get extremely excited about it and then BAM, expect everyone else too as well. I see what needs to get done and I’m all about bringing people along for the ride. This subject is really going to help me see how I can adopt more of the other styles into my toolbox more often.

Forum activity

On the forum, discuss any of the personality types and your experiences with dealing with people, particularly in the work situation, who may have one of these styles. 

The following forum post could have been mine word for word. The principal in my old school was exactly the same. She was certainly up against it with the issues she faced, with jaded teachers, a tough parent group and a board that was only out to make money. Interestingly, she was also detested by some members of staff because of all the positive things that Leah mentions – certain teachers just couldn’t handle the level of collaboration and expectation my principal had. They saw her as far too authoritative and almost micromanaging. I think the biggest problem was that she made them accountable for their poor teaching and they didn’t like being exposed. To my mind, having your principal team teach with you is a privilege, not an insult; having your principal patiently listen to your vision and ask probing questions, challenging you on what you believe and why is the conduit to growth, not an inditement on your ability.

Isn’t it very telling that the way we respond to leadership depends on our own personal views and beliefs, our own perceptions of our strengths and weaknesses? Certainly makes me realise how important, how essential, leading with very high EQ/EI is. Emma is so right when she says that email takes away the hugely important non-verbal component of conversation, interaction and communication. Get out of your office/classroom, people, and get in someone’s face!

“One of the best leaders I had was a school principal I worked for who came into a school as a fix-it person because the previous principal had some radical ideas that didn’t work and the school had lots of negative issues as a result. This new principal was a ‘breath of fresh air’ for many reasons. She knew the curriculum, she had confidence in staff and collaborated with them, she spent time every week in classrooms, even just to read a story- a simple way to connect with the kids. She also set high standards and expected us to follow them. All of these things were done in a manner of calm, confident, positive action. She was very inspiring.” Leah Hannan, forum post, March 12th

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