Leading in the time of Covid

There are few things more distracting then the endless Twitter feed full of bad news, angry outbursts and inspiring stories. It’s like a drug; my brain looks for a quick hit, and then sticks around far too long. At a certain point, it’s counterproductive. Twitter is a perfect example of reactive thought; always chasing the moment, rarely leading.

In this time of global crisis, we are seeing wildly different types of leadership. It is as Yeats wrote in 1919, just as the first world war was ending:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

are full of  passionate intensity.

Crisis pulls back the curtain on leaders. We see who they really are, and how fit they are to lead us in a time of grave crisis. Some perform as expected. Other surprise us with their abilities. Still others disappoint.

I look back to my first post in LRNT525. With our group, we decided that our top four leadership traits were:

  1. Competent
  2. Supportive
  3. Honest
  4. Dependable.

It was a prescient list. In the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, these four traits are definitely among those which we value the most in our leaders. Competent is a must. Being supportive in a time of crisis helps keep morale up. Honesty is non-negotiable. And when it comes to dependability, we all need someone we can lean on.

I also gravitated toward the reflective and adaptive styles of leadership. Both of which I believe have great value in times of crisis. In my final assignment, I quoted Natalie Khan: “Adaptive leadership supports educational institutions to navigate through change because it does not rely on previous  experience alone to address problems, but rather looks at current challenges to determine resolutions (Khan, 2017, p, 180).” That ability to observe, gather data and quickly pivot is what we need right now. An reflective leader also questions beliefs and assumptions. They place great value on building esteem and confidence through open communication and creating a safe environment (Castellie, 2015).  I believe the most successful leaders in this time embody both these traits.

In the last two months, I have learned much about leadership, not just in educational technology, but in the world at large. It’s been quite a journey of learning. Thank you to my colleagues and instructor who helped guide me along the way. Stay safe everyone.

 

Castelli, P. A. (2016). Reflective leadership review: A framework for improving organisational performance. The Journal of Management Development, 35(2), 217-236. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.royalroads.ca/10.1108/JMD-08-2015-0112

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

Yeats, W. (1919). The Second Coming. Retrieved from: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43290/the-second-coming

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