Here's My Philosophy of Leadership - What's Yours?

Hello Everyone ~

Welcome to my new blog!  I am so excited to embark on this new opportunity to enter into an exchange of ideas with colleagues and friends, as well as to hear from educators and community members I do not know so well.

I was inspired to start a blog as a result of a recent 360 degree evaluation, where the staff of the Integrated Learning Department, the members of the Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership Steering Committee, and my boss, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools, Karen Monroe, all completed a survey to provide feedback on my leadership.  I am very appreciative that each of these individuals took time to answer questions about how well I was doing in 5 leadership areas: 1) Inspiring a Shared Vision, 2) Encouraging the Heart, 3) Challenging the Process, 4) Enabling Others to Lead, and 5) Modeling the Way.

This has sparked a process of self-reflection and candid conversation with others about what I am doing well, and what I could be doing differently or better to contribute to our shared goals for healthy schools, successful students and engaged communities.

As a result of participating in the 360 degree evaluation, I was able to access multiple reports that analyze and present the data from the evaluations in multiple ways.  One report ranked all of the questions answered by my evaluators, according to what they felt I was doing best and what I needed most improvement in.  I got pretty much high marks from everyone on Inspiring a Shared Vision, but at the very bottom of the list was my ability to clearly convey my philosophy of leadership.

So, blogging about my philosophy of leadership seemed like a good way to begin to address one of my weaknesses as a leader.

My philosophy of leadership is inspired by the work of Margaret Wheatley. She says there are 5 important things that all leaders must be doing right now. They are:

  1. Restore time for thinking.
  2. Learn from experience.
  3. Pay exquisite attention to relationships.
  4. Push back on politics and bureaucracy.
  5. Find and maintain a practice.

After a recent Integrated Learning staff meeting, I noticed that the team feedback suggested that the best use of our time was not spent reviewing budget reports. In fact, the group wisely suggested a different regular meeting opportunity with our budget analyst, apart from regular staff meetings, for technical assistance on budget reporting and monitoring - and we have moved immediately to put that in place!

I am now looking for ways that our staff meetings can provide important time for thinking, both individually and collectively, while also helping our staff to learn from our individual and collective experience. I want to be intentional about how we use that precious monthly shared time together, and I have asked our team to share their ideas about how our staff meetings can be improved.

Margaret Wheatley says, "Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to create anything useful."

I am so grateful for this new opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas with all of you, and I look forward to hearing about your experience of what works best. What is your philosophy of leadership? Who are the thinkers that inspire you?

-Louise Music

Ray CaganComment