In my new course LRNT 525, one of my first assignments was to rank twenty attributes exhibited by leaders by level of importance. First, I was to rank the characteristics individually, and later come to a consensus in a group of four. It was a simple task to come to an agreement as our opinions were similar from the start. The top three attributes we settled on were competent, supportive, and caring. When I think back to the leadership roles I had in the past, these attributes were definitely what I strived to model. Before moving into a management position at each job, I ensured that I was a subject matter expert, and even though I had many responsibilities in each company such as customer satisfaction and sales, my priority was always making my team happy. I cared about their development and goals while also being supportive in any way I could. As an employee in both my current and past jobs, when I think about the best managers I’ve had, these attributes have always been present. My current boss for example seems to be able to answer any question I have ever come up with, fix any issue I’ve had, and it seems he will do everything in his power to make me happy, thus I feel very supported.
When it comes to working as a leader in a digital learning environment, I have no experience in this capacity, and therefore before I dove into the course readings, I decided it was best to reflect on my own and again rank what I thought were the top three attributes. I decided on flexible, innovative and supportive. So, do any of the authors of this unit’s readings agree with me? Eric Sheninger may. Sheninger discusses what it means to be an effective leader in a digital world and states that the leadership attributes that we have traditionally valued continue to hold importance, but that we must focus on other aspects as well. Some of the areas he discussed that are similar to my initial thoughts are that leaders should always be in constant communication, be open to the use of new digital tools, acquiring new resources, seeking knowledge through other experts, and manifesting innovative learning environments (2019).
It seems to me that leading in a digital learning environment is much more complex than leading in a traditional environment. Kouzes and Posner declare that people have valued the same characteristics in leaders for over thirty years such as honest, forward-looking, and inspiring which top their list (2011). From what Sheninger is saying, these values shouldn’t change, however I believe the list may grow larger. If people hang on to the values that they have always held important, but leaders in digital environments require a whole new set of attributes, then maybe we will see the list increase to twenty-five or even thirty attributes that are expected. Would you agree with me? Do you think more is expected from leaders in digital learning environments than traditional environments?
Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2011). Chapter 1: Leadership Is a Relationship. In Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It, 2nd Edition.
Sheninger, E. (2014). Pillars of digital leadership. International Centre for Leadership in Education. Retrieved from http://leadered.com/pillars-of-digital-leadership/