When I think of leaders and leadership, I often think of individuals who are confidant, articulate, and has a certain level of charm and charisma that can easily draw people in. While diving into course readings and reflecting on past experiences, I realize just how complex and dynamic leadership can be. I have exemplified leadership characteristics while working in group settings, but I have not had the opportunity to lead on larger scales. My inexperience and curiosity have led me to ponder what approaches of a leader I would admire, and what type of leadership would work best to lead changes within digital learning environments.
I have been in the presence of many great leaders from a variety of industries, and each one has demonstrated qualities and approaches that I greatly admire. I value leaders who are open and honest. They show a level of vulnerability that makes them relatable. O’Toole’s (2008) article examines value-based leadership using historical figures as examples to highlight how they have learned to lead by reflecting on their failures and experiences. The ability to deconstruct and find meaning through their trails and tribulations helps to humanize their experience as leaders (Castelli, 2015). Since I do not have a lot of experience in leading, hearing stories from well established leaders enduring obstacles in order to achieve success, is inspiring. This is a reminder that becoming a leader and developing relevant skills is a journey, and it gives me hope that with time and hard work, I too can strengthen my own abilities.
I also admire leaders who are committed to nurturing and fostering the next wave of leaders. Developing and growing leaders is a process that takes time, patience, and risk. Huggins’ (2017) analysis highlights three key personal aspects of principals which help them facilitate capacity building with others, they are: (1) commitment to developing leadership capacity, (2) approach leadership development as a process, and (3) tolerance for risk. These approaches are adaptable to a variety of industries and professions, however, the commonality here is that it takes a dedicated leader to recognize the value of supporting others and to commit themselves to the cause. As someone who still has a lot to learn, I see the importance of seasoned professionals investing and mentoring others to become future leaders. In turn, I hope one day I can be a resource to others when the opportunity presents itself.
As technology continues to grow and make its impact on the evolution of education, I feel we need more adaptive leaders to facilitate these changes. Adaptive leaders look at the big picture and “considers all factors that affect an organization, by properly planning for a changing world” (Khan, 2017, p. 179). I believe that this approach is flexible and holistic in nature, harnesses collaboration, and leverages the expertise from across an organization (Khan, 2017). With technology becoming a growing presence in learning and education, there are complexities and challenges that presents itself. As a result, it is important for leaders to take on adaptive approaches to help navigate through the uncertainties.
I am beginning to understand that being a good leader is a dynamic journey that is not easily definable, and can be quite complex in nature. How will I look at leadership and its approaches differently after this course? Would it be drastically different? Hopefully, I will develop a more comprehensive understanding of the type of leader I want to become.
Castelli, P. (2016). Reflective leadership review: a framework for improving organisational performance. Journal of Management Development, 35(2), 217-236. Retrieved from https://search-proquestcom.ezproxy.royalroads.ca/docview/1767544220?accountid=8056
Huggins, K. (2017). Developing Leadership Capacity in Others: An Examination of High School Principals Personal Capacities for Fostering Leadership. International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.22230/ijepl.2017v12n1a670
Khan, N. (2017). Adaptive or Transactional Leadership in Current Higher Education: A Brief Comparison. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(3). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v18i3.3294
O’Toole, J. (2008). Notes Toward a Definition of Values-Based Leadership. The Journal of Values-Based Leadership, 1(1). Retrieved from https://scholar.valpo.edu/jvbl/vol1/iss1/10