The post christmas wander through the bookshops is always enjoyable and you always pick up some great bargains. Fiction is always high on my agenda but I still browse the education, management and leadership sections looking at the latest trends. It is depressing to say that nothing really has changed except that the management paradigm no longer has a place in 21st century organisations. How many large and small organisations are still employing managers to ‘control and command’ staff and how many school leaders are still managing the business of schooling?
Ibarra and Hansen writing in the August 2011 Harvard Business Review said:
Research has consistently shown that diverse teams produce better results, provided they are well led. The ability to bring together people from different backgrounds, disciplines, cultures, and generations and leverage all they have to offer, therefore, is a must have for leaders. Yet many companies spend inordinate amounts of time, money, and energy attracting talented employees only to subject them to homogenizing processes that kill creativity.
What is interesting in a crowd-sourced and connected world is that we still believe in some form of social determinism that says only a few are capable of leading or that the more senior you are the better your ideas. The issue we all face is how organisations and school systems make the shift from controlling to influencing. It requires an understanding that every employee or teacher is a leader in their own right.
Just by being part of the team, learning community or organisation, they have an investment in how it performs. They accept responsibility and are accountability for their own performance as well as the teams. This supports a new way of working where all ideas are to be valued and where diversity is the norm. What does this say about how we view the work of teachers in today’s world? How powerful would learning be if we applied the paradigm to the learning space?
Leadership is an expression of the power of the team on the learning space as it continually reshapes itself to address areas of need.