Through the journey of LRNT525, I have taken away a deeper, more meaningful understanding of what it truly means to be a leader. I found it interesting that through each assignment our thoughts and opinions as a cohort, mirrored each other in what we were looking for in a leader and regardless of our different professions, we were looking for similar things. My perspective has not changed from my first blog post, but it has broadened. I find that communication is and always will be at the forefront of what makes a leader exceptional, as this ensures team unity and understanding. I have also come to appreciate that there isn’t much difference between conventional leadership and digital leadership as Sheninger points out, they both play in the same sandbox.

I feel I am more confident of what is expected of me as a leader when I return to work. By being motivated by my values and beliefs, following a values-based leadership philosophy (O’Toole, 2008) will hopefully encourage both my students and fellow colleagues. It is impossible to avoid discussing our current climate and the change that is taking place throughout the world. My work has cancelled all face-to-face classes and is strictly online learning for the interim. We are forced to embrace technology as a means to an end and although this sounds pessimistic, it can be an opportunity for digital leadership to come to the forefront. With so many forced changes, there will be quite a few people who feel as though they are thrown into the deep end, but with companies taking an “integrated approach to drive systematic, constructive change and minimize the destructive barriers to change” (Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015) we can help reduce this stress and burden placed on the those affected.

The readings and discussions throughout the course will allow me to practice both adaptive leadership and transactional leadership, as I feel there is a place for both in a digital learning environment. I also feel that some of the theories, such as Kotter’s 8 step process, could help ease the transition while executing strategy. I found it fascinating that I was already using some of the theories in practice, yet never realized it. When we were working towards our group toolkit, a fellow group member inadvertently made me see the change models and theories I was already imploring in the workplace. The group activity makes me want to encourage my learners to have more group work to gain more perspective, insight and bounce ideas back and forth in a comfortable environment. I was not a fan of group work until this class, I found it to be stressful and at times overwhelming. With that being said, I found that even when things go wrong or there are bumps in the road, classmates – like colleagues, will step up and resolve any complications to get the job done. “When issues involving people are explored, more creative energy is released, leading to projects that everyone identifies as significant and no one could accomplish alone (Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015)

Any work environment can be deemed a complex system as there are many variables and moving parts to take into consideration. With all the changes and shifts happening, there cannot be a more complex system to maneuver than what is going on right now. It is easy for me to say we need leadership now more than ever, as I have the comfort of being at home and not having to worry about the added stresses and pressure of work. Peckenpaugh (2020) likens 5 leadership principles to being a conductor in an orchestra:

  1. The conductor must know the score
  2. The conductor must know the players
  3. The conductor must recognize that every motion of the baton means something
  4. The conductor must unite the players to achieve something great
  5. The conductor must lead by example

I know that I will be taking these leadership examples with me when I return to work to ensure that I am leading by example and helping conduct my own sound in the orchestra.

References:

Al-Haddad, S., & Kotnour, T. (2015). Integrating the organizational change literature: a model for successful change. Journal of Organizational Change Management28(2), 234-262.

O’Toole, James (2008). Notes Toward a Definition of Values-Based Leadership. The Journal of Values-Based Leadership1(1).

Peckenpaugh, R. (2020). The Whitnell Way. Retrieved from https://www.whitnell.com/blog/detail/why-we-need-leadership-now-more-than-ever

Sheninger, E. (2014). Pillars of digital leadership. International Centre for Leadership in Education.