Most students at the beginning of this subject agreed that a TL can be a leader in a school (Cornwell, G. 2019, July 22, Johnson, R. 2019, July 15 and Taylor, J. 2019, July 11). However, a few questioned whether a TL is or can be a leader (Parnell, L. 2019, July 1 and Simon, M. 2019, July 8). My course work has vindicated my stance that TLs are leaders.
Working through case studies with my group, I felt I displayed attributes Danielson (2007) says leaders need: open minded, enthusiastic and flexible. Further, I utilised plans, timeframes and structure so my organisational skills came to the fore. I took initiative and while I wasn’t appointed leader, my actions were aimed at getting results; transactional leadership on display (Train in a Day, 2015).
My group appreciated my organisational skills. I didn’t assign jobs. I encouraged everyone to contribute and work collaboratively. My initial transactional leadership style morphed into more distributed leadership where the authority does not lie solely on one person (Naidu, 2015). I treated group members as equals who could decide roles and contribute (or not) accordingly. I opened lines of communication, so everyone was on the same page. I encouraged involvement in the problem solving.
Leaders and teams work best when strong relationships are formed and a range of leadership styles are utilised (Smith, 2016). While I did question what some team members were contributing, the work was completed. I engaged with and encouraged the active group members, so we now have a supportive relationship away from the group.
The actual case studies made for very interesting reading. The scenario for the case study is miles away from my own reality. Working in a corporate position where I was the boss, the behaviour of the library staff was alien to me. I found myself wondering how anyone like this could keep their jobs! However, the studies highlighted for me how hard constant change is on staff (Dilkes, 2014, p.45). They confirmed the necessity to build a collaborative culture and team mindset (Bush & Glover, 2014, p. 562); and how leaders must know and understand their staff and make them feel valued.
The crux of the case studies was the importance of teamwork and that is dependent on interpersonal relationships (Carr, 2008). Creating a shared vision, developing an atmosphere of collaborative decision making (McNee & Radmer, 2017), advocating for the library, working with other departments and taking care of yourself (and a team) is a hard job. Being a leader that builds a cohesive, trusting team allows the load to be shared and make everyone’s life easier.
The case studies provided experience in working with others, solving real-world problems and applying theory we have been learning. It provided further evidence to me that TLs can be leaders. We have the skills required to lead from the middle and can enact change in our libraries and our schools. We are no longer just the guardians of knowledge and books, but active, inspirational members of our school communities.
Bush,T., & Glover,D. (2014). School leadership models: What do we know? School Leadership & Management, 34 (5), 553-571. doi: 10.1080/13632434.2014.928680
Carr, J. (Ed.). (2008). Leadership for excellence: Insights of the national school library media program of the year award winners. Retrieved from iG Library.
Danielson, C. (2007). The many faces of leadership. Educational Leadership, 65(1), 14-19. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept07/vol65/num01/The-Many-Faces-of-Leadership.aspx
Dilkes, J., Cunningham, C., & Gray, J. (2014). The new Australian Curriculum, teachers and change fatigue. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(11). doi:10.14221/ajte.2014v39n11.4
McNee, D. & Radmer, E. (2017). Librarians and learning: The impact of collaboration. English Leadership Quarterly, 40 (1), 6-9. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/docview/1929035671/fulltextPDF/5BAF868D2A304220PQ/1?accountid=10344
Naidu, K. (2015, January 13). Distributed leadership in a nutshell. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Z9zYpE25Gs
Smith, B. (2016). The role of leadership style in creating a great school. SELU Research Review Journal, 1(1), 65-78. Retrieved from https://selu.usask.ca/documents/research-and-publications/srrj/SRRJ-1-1-Smith.pdf
Train in a Day. (2015, July 23). Leadership styles: Which type of leader are you? [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddt_IGMMOrI