It would seem in today’s fast paced world change is inevitable. This sentiment is heard often and in many different contexts. It is no longer the norm to remain in a state of unchanging as everything, it would seem, is subject to change.
We are amid a questioning revolution where nothing is off limits. Questioning facts, questioning leadership, and hopefully questioning ourselves. Only by asking the right questions can we gain valuable insight into tomorrow’s needed change and having the foresight to anticipate the questions of tomorrow will enable relevant leaders to enact change today.
Relevancy requires an evolution of leadership modeling and revision of change management. No longer being practiced strictly as a top down model, leadership can no longer be about directives from above. Rather it must be grounded in the principals of support and understanding of the people most affected by the proposed change (Sheninger, 2018).
Leadership today requires soft skills that are in step with society’s current views of empowerment, sustainability and communication. Society will mandate what matters most, ultimately deciding who will lead and where that leadership takes them (Kouzes & Posner, 2011). The leader that demonstrates an awareness to this changing state and has a strong command of soft skills, will find themselves in a position to facilitate and manage change.
My leadership style will fluctuate depending on the moment, often exhibiting leadership traits that are associated with Transactional, Cognitive, and Transformational leadership. If I were to identify the one style I use most it would Servant-Leadership style whereby I focus my efforts on the individual student’s achievement of their learning goals (O’Toole, 2012). Pursuing a line of inquiry that suits a particular individual learning style gets them involved in the moment will still including the entire student body.
In my classes I always try to foster a desire to engage with each other, encourage inclusion and risk taking. I want my students to feel safe and supported while they attempt to synthesize and express learning. I will always acknowledge when I do not have an answer to an in-class question and encourage the asking student to seek out the answer on their personal device and report their findings later in the lecture. Doing so places me beside the students as someone willing to learn, sharing that mutual goal of self-improvement (O’Toole, 2012).
Leadership in my context is related to classroom instructor and as such it is incumbent upon me to examine the way in which I lead in order to remain current and viable. If I want to instill a co-owned desire for change, I need to exemplify that which I seek in others.
Since my MALAT journey began I have started asking questions. Questions of myself and of my peers and there are times I am not happy with the answers. The time for change is upon us. Roles and expectations are being reexamined through the lens of change which is prompting questions.
Here’s a few of the questions I’ve recently asked of myself.
- “How can I deliver this material that will engage a particular student that I recognize as falling off the desk.”
- “How can I create a live open co-researched lecture class?”
Here’s a question a student asked me at the end of Wednesday’s class.
- “Can you make your lectures more interactive?” to which I asked of them.
- “In your ideal class, how do you see this material being delivered?”
- “What would your perfect class look like?”
And now over to you. What questions have you been asking of yourself?
It is my belief that leaders who do not hear the questions being asked, will longer be heard.
Changing Cliparts #50683 http://clipart-library.com/ (License: Personal Use)
Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2011). Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It, 2nd Edition. https://royalroads.skillport.com/skillportfe/assetSummaryPage.action?assetid=RW$564:_ss_book:43184#summary/BOOKS/RW$564:_ss_book:43184
O’Toole, J. (2012). Notes Toward a Definition of Values-Based Leadership. The Journal of Values-Based Leadership, 1(1). https://scholar.valpo.edu/jvbl/vol1/iss1/10
Sheninger, E. (2018). Digital Leadership Changing Paradigms for Changing Times. (Second Edition). Sage Publications.