Category Archives: Leadership

What leadership has meant to me

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This year, by default, I’ve been head of library at Melbourne High School. At no point have I desired this position, and I’m happy to say that we have a wonderful head of library all set to go next year, Pam Saunders, who is currently head of library at Princes Hill. However, despite the trials and tribulations of being default head, I have to admit that I’m grateful for the new experiences which I would never have deliberately chosen but appreciate retrospectively.

I came across this paragraph about a particular style of leadership which describes the my style perfectly – only I didn’t know it was a style; I was just following my gut feeling –

In teams one of the more effective styles of leadership is the participative style. This style of leader seeks to work with team members and encourages collaboration. The participative leader consults and looks for consensus when making decisions. This style of leadership welcomes suggestions from the team and does not respond by merely paying these suggestions lip service but genuinely considers how these suggestions can be used.

In terms of the participative style of leadership, I’m glad I went with my gut feeling and amazed by the diverse talents of my team. You really don’t know the extent of what people are capable of until you trust them (and thus empower them) to take responsibility for their areas of expertise. I think it may have taken a bit longer for them to trust me, and the time is takes for each person can’t be rushed. At this point, despite the dramas we’re experiencing every day in the midst of our refurbishment and changes to stocktake since we’ve adopted RFID, I’m feeling quietly happy knowing that we’ve had an awesome year, and that so much good has happened as a result of our collaborative efforts.

Next year I hope to focus more deeply on a meaningful use of social media in student learning. I’m also keen to develop my research skills to a stage where I feel qualified to prepare our students for university. I’m in two minds about whether I should contact research librarians at universities or Masters students who would have deep knowledge of the research process. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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Who’s leading? How a movement is made

Derek Sivers received a standing ovation at TED for this talk about leadership.

This really made an impression on me. I realised that, yes, it’s the first follower who plays a crucial role,

he publicly shows everyone how to follow.

This is so true, and I can speak from experience when I say this. Last year, when I took the risky step of creating a ning for a class, my brave and trusting friend Maria was the one who said yes, I’ll do it with you.

It takes guts to be a first follower! (Thankyou Maria! You’re the best)

She trusted me (even when I didn’t trust myself), and together we joined forces not only to create the ning as a learning and teaching platform for the year 7 class, but we forged new territory as we went, supporting each other and later demonstrating to the rest of the staff what this new learning environment looked like.

The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader.

This year our school has taken off with Web 2.0 platforms for classes, a couple at first, serving as examples for others. Thankyou, Una and Catherine, for making the ning such a rich learning environment and inspiring other teachers.

The 2nd follower is a turning point: it’s proof the first has done well. Now it’s not a lone nut, and it’s not two nuts. Three is a crowd and a crowd is news.

Now there are more and more teachers wanting to try nings, having seen the wonderful examples.

Now here come 2 more, then 3 more. Now we’ve got momentum. This is the tipping point! Now we’ve got a movement!

I may be jumping the gun a little, but I’m predicting that soon the Web 2.0 learning platforms and tools will be part of the everyday learning and teaching practice at my school.

As more people jump in, it’s no longer risky. If they were on the fence before, there’s no reason not to join now. They won’t be ridiculed, they won’t stand out, and they will be part of the in-crowd, if they hurry. Over the next minute you’ll see the rest who prefer to be part of the crowd, because eventually they’d be ridiculed for not joining.

I love the advice that Derek Sivers gives about leadership – listen particularly if you don’t consider yourself a leader:

The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow.

When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in.

Check out Derek’s biography.

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Filed under Leadership, Web 2.0