Leadership on the surface is easy to understand, simplistically someone who is in charge of others and points them in the direction they want them to go. Before completing this subject I knew that leadership was more complicated than that, I had my own opinions on what makes a good leader and believed that I was unfortunately one of those natural born leaders based on my previous life experience. Throughout this session my beliefs about what leadership looks like have grown and developed in a number of ways.
My learning in the modules has broadened my definition of what leadership is and given me names to place with ideas that I already had. My biggest take-a-way from the modules was the interconnectedness of all the different leadership styles. Really for any organisation to work there is a need for many different styles of leadership. Gardners’ (2013) reading was my influential on creating the big picture of leadership as the “power of persuasion” and how it is often easy to confuse status with leadership. Combined with Moir et.al (2014) which showcased the importance of leadership on morale and how delicate it can be to lead in schools. Baker (2016) gave excellent practical tips on how teacher librarians can be a leader and develop partnership with the principal and teachers. Overall, I learned that leadership is complex, requires passion and hard work and thrives on collaboration, evaluation and clear communication.
I drew encouragement from the Canadian school libraries outlined in Koechlin & Sykes (2014) and how they were fostering learning by completely rejuvenating school libraries. Encouraging me to be a better advocate for school libraries. Finally, the need for strategic planning was discussed something that when I previously worked as a TL was lacking. Wong (2012) encouraged critical reflection, building a community profile and the constant need to set goals and assess regularly.
During the case studies I was reminded of my own leadership styles and preferences. I typically lean towards servant and distributed leadership I believe that to be a leader we must also be willing to serve and show others how things are done. I also believe in sharing the load and giving people the opportunity to become leaders themselves. During our first group case study myself and another member of the group took the lead in organising how our group would communicate and bringing us together. I then volunteered to pull together our ideas at the end of the week once everyone had had a chance to contribute which was received well and allowed others to step up in later weeks, which they did. It was also encouraging to see the support given to members of the group that were struggling to meet time constraints in light of COVID-19, weeks where some of us were busy others engaged more and vice versa, though not strictly demonstrating distributed leadership it did show the advantages of collaboration and teamwork.
Baker, S. (2016). From teacher to school librarian leader and instructional partner: a proposed transformation framework for educators of preservice school librarians. School libraries worldwide, 22(1), 143-158. DOI: 10.14265.22.1.011
Gardner, J.W, (2013). The nature of leadership. In M Grogan (Ed.). The Jossey-Bass reader on educational leadership (3rd ed., pp. 17-27). John Wiley & Sons.
Koechlin, C., & Sykes, J. (2014). Canadian school libraries leading learning. Synergy, 12(2). https://search-informit-com-au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=210689;res=AEIPT
Moir, S., Hattie, J. & Jansen, C. (2014). Teacher perspectives of ‘effective’ leadership in schools. Australian Educational Leader, 36(4), 36-40.
Wong, T. (2012). Strategic long range planning. Library Media Connection, 31(2), 22-23