During my doctoral studies I have read a lot about the importance of distributed and shared leadership and the importance of those practices within our schools. Distributed leadership is a model that secures staff members' full participation in the school's decision-making processes, promotes powerful and purposeful collaboration and amicable work relations, generates passion for accomplishing common goals, and boosts student and teacher productivity throughout the organization (as described by Natsiopoulou and Giouroukakis in When The Teachers Run the School). This approach to leadership is basically a MUST in the current landscape of public education because the principal is expected to be a transformative leader who successfully manages and balances instructional leadership responsibilities with the countless administrative tasks and expectations.
When considering the idea of distributed leadership, I immediately think about my own ability to develop leadership skills and abilities in those around me. Do our teachers feel empowered? Do our teachers have opportunities to assume leadership roles? Do any of our teachers want to "grow up" and become administrators? Unfortunately, I recently came to the conclusion that this is a deficit for me as a leader because I couldn't emphatically answer YES to any of the questions above. I don't think I am really good at developing leadership skills in those around me. I am not sure why this is the case but this is an area where I want to improve and grow. So, since I haven't actually mastered how to develop leadership skills in others, these are the I want our teachers to know as I try and achieve this goal...
I want to ensure that our teachers feel supported and empowered.
I want to ensure that our teachers know that taking risks and failing is considered a good thing - go for it!
I want our teachers to know that if they have an idea, there is always a forum for them to share their ideas and eventually put them into action.
I want our teachers to know that I trust them.
I want our teachers to know that there isn't just ONE way to do things and that they can try different things in their spaces.
I want to ensure that our teachers feel heard, valued and respected.
I want to ensure that our teachers have the opportunity to collaborate - there is power in numbers (in a good way).
I want our teachers to know that I would be honored to "set the stage" for them to assume leadership roles.
I want our teachers to know that I learn from them EVERY SINGLE DAY!
I want our teachers to know they are the true leaders of our space and that our children's growth and development is because of their daily efforts!
In the end, I am not sure if the list above will help me better develop distributed leadership approaches or help develop leadership skills in our various staff members but I do know that it will be one of my goals for this year... share the fun... share the passion... share the leadership!