New leaders have arrived in education, and they’re not beholden to anyone or anything that came before them. They do not fit any one profile or group or demographic. They lead in ways of thinking and working and succeeding that look ahead, not behind. It’s an empowering, self-actualizing way of looking at the world, and it is changing the way we learn and lead.
You may already know one or more of these new leaders, as you have encountered them on their journey. They are education practitioners, committed to what is best for children. But what is often most striking at first encounter (and at the same time disconcerting) is how comfortable they are with the ambiguity of learning, adapting and evolving on the fly. They operate at the speed with which the world now changes, because they are a product of its endless, ever-morphing mindset.
These new education leaders are:
Value-centric – seeking meaningful connections and relevant work
Empowered – breaking free of traditional constraints using digital tools
Inclusive – welcoming people, ideas and resources that help build their capacity
Genuine – open and transparent in work and relationships
Anchored – in the context, climate, and culture of their learning communities
Strategic – aligning values, skills and resources to optimize their learning
Skeptical – rigorously asking questions and seeking new answers
Resilient – optimistically taking risks and learning from the outcomes
Collaborative – talking, listening, responding and sharing, online and off
Balanced – protecting personal happiness while pursuing professional success
Accountable – self-monitoring performance, learning and growth
Ethical – acting with honesty, integrity and a low tolerance for hypocrisy
Ecological – serving as good stewards of the environments in which they thrive
Voracious – hungry to engage, to learn, to lead, to make a difference
Trailblazing – clearing new pathways to personal and professional efficacy
How do these leadership traits resonate with you? Just when you think you grasp them, you’ll have new encounters that open your eyes and push your thinking. And it is worth it to have the opportunity to work with these colleagues who bring fresh eyes, refreshed thinking, and refreshing perspectives. You may not have asked for it, and you may not expect it when it happens, but education’s new leaders have arrived and they want to work with you.
Yes, it’s uncomfortable rethinking one’s assumptions about education. But it’s actually easy to start the journey. Openly embrace and engage new leaders. Provide for them a seat with your team. Let them take part in the important work before you. Allow them to share new ideas…new possibilities…things you cannot readily see on our own. And you will become renewed and revitalized as a leader…and as a learner…making a difference…touching the future. Isn’t this why we all became educators in the first place?