Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Back to School!

The office is closed and the plane heads out tomorrow morning.  I am looking forward to a short break back at the cottage before heading off to start my doctorate degree at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.  I have been thinking about returning to school for the past couple years and finally decided that there is no time like the present.  I am really excited to have some intense professional conversations about educational leadership with fellow international school administrators, and am keen to apply my studies when I return to Abu Dhabi in August.  Although it is going to be a long journey, I am excited about the ride!  Wish me luck.

Monday, June 14, 2010

5 Levels of Leadership

I am sometimes asked what happens once everyone has headed home for the summer and for the most part, we have been working on getting things organized for our next school year.  Besides spending a lot of this week looking ahead, I love the time that I seem to have at the end of the year to look back and reflect on the year that was.  I was reading an article earlier today written by Paul Young, entitled, The Five Levels of Principal Leadership.  In this article, Mr. Young summarizes a model developed by John Maxwell outlining the five levels of leadership.  Maxwell believes that in order for a principal to effectively lead their school, they must pass through five levels of leadership.  These are:

1) Position - The work focus at this level involves clarifying and establishing rights, accepting responsibilities with various people, offering good ideas, and attaining recognition as a leader rather than a boss.
2) Permission - the principal must build a personal relationship with each person. When effective relationships emerge, people begin following the leader because they want to. They give their permission to be led.
3) Production - Purpose becomes clear and principals and their staffs grow together while focused on results.  People actually like being at work, and their discussions focus mostly on positive, work-related matters. The principal fulfills the multi-faceted roles of management and instructional leadership.
4) People Development - With adequate time, effective veteran principals will continue to build ever-stronger teams and empower their staffs, students, and parents to be leaders. They delegate effectively helping others to become effective leaders. 
5) Personhood - The pinnacle of leadership and occurs when people follow you based on who you are and what you stand for.  This level of leadership is reserved for people who have spend years developing others and their organization.

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This article and synopsis definitely struck a chord with me as I am looking back at my past 3 years as a principal.  Obviously, there are a lot of effective leadership models but Maxwell's allows me to visualize my own progression as a principal.  In addition, as I begin to look ahead and set my professional goals, I have been able to identify some areas that I can focus on to help me improve as a leader in my school and community.