In LRNT525 we have learned about leadership styles, change management models and the basics of project management. Throughout the course, we have had the opportunity to apply these learnings to digital learning environments and more broadly, to multifaceted organizations in general. This course was not only informative but timely. With the COVID-19 pandemic occurring the latter half of the course, this devastating turn of events with rapidly evolving changes, has provided a practical example within my higher education workplace, of many of the course teachings.
In my first blog post of this course, I stated that a combination of adaptive and reflective leadership is my leadership style, and this has not changed over the nine weeks of LRNT525. This combination has consistently worked for me in the past, as these leadership styles emphasize the value of those you are leading, two-way communication and diversity, while working with a set of organizational goals. COVID-19 has represented an extreme example of change. Within my work context, several projects and changes have been initiated in rapid succession, with individuals at all levels needing to efficiently and effectively coordinate responses. I have been able to observe that those who have displayed the tenants of adaptive and reflective leadership have been able to navigate this situation in the best possible way, given the circumstances. Within the context of my higher education institution, employees are asked to pivot in very short timeframes with directives coming in quickly from multiple sources, while people are dealing with fear, uncertainty and anger to name a few emotions. Employees perception on their ability to complete the tasks involved in change is integral to the success of change (Weiner, 2009). Leaders responding to and acknowledging these feelings, while maintaining forward motion to ensure directives are met, have thus far been successful in managing significant change in an unprecedented circumstance.
In my current role as an Academic Advisor, this course has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of types of leaderships models, as well as project and change management. This knowledge has allowed me to add valuable perspectives in various meetings for planning projects. As I provide my perspective, I have realized that this course has added to my vocabulary and conceptual understanding, as it relates to change and project management. In my small way, I have been able to add value to the significant change that has occurred in my College, over the last few weeks, including working from home, rapid transition to learning online, and supporting students from an exclusively digital modality. The course has helped me to work through a planning process, which has enabled the creation of a more efficient process to serve students, from a distance, in their time of need.
The onset of COVID-19 has made leading change in digital learning environments a survival strategy rather than an innovation. As I progress in my career, I feel this program has helped me continually develop the fundamentals to be a skilled contributor in the area of digital learning environments. This course has helped to tackle the complexities of developing, changing and innovating in digital learning. I hope to build on the skills I have gained in order to further support the creation of online learning spaces that are authentic, inclusive and adaptable to the unpredictable and complex realities we live in.
Weiner, B. J. (2009). A theory of organizational readiness for change. Implementation Science, 4(67). Retrieved from https://implementationscience.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1748-5908-4-67