Modeling Reflective Leadership in Your PLC
As a leader of learners, do you ever wonder if you are providing the leadership your staff wants?
You have dedicated time to address the culture in your PLC and established clarity on expectations of staff and students; you promote and protect the values of your teams to move your PLC forward, along with a host of other types of support. And yet, with all of this commitment on your part, you hear some staff still gossiping about what they wish you would do.
Being an administrator from two schools that built high-functioning PLCs, I feel sure my staff said the same thing about me more than once. Here is a suggestion to allow your faculty and staff to clarify the kind of leadership they hope you will provide and a way for you to use their input to help you become a better servant leader.
Erkens and Twadell (2012) discuss how some of the most effective leaders they interviewed use modeling as a strategy for setting expectations of others. They discuss ways to model leadership, which inspired me to write about how we decided to model the use of feedback and data. It started by soliciting input from the staff at a faculty meeting.
This information was gathered by asking staff members to write one trait they would like for their leader or supervisor to know about their leadership style, skills, or traits, but without writing any names or reference to a specific leader. Answers were written on an index card, and the teachers put their card in a box as a ticket-out-the-door activity at the end of the meeting. The leadership team reviewed the responses and, when needed, converted the staff responses about leadership into a positive or benign statement. Then we used the statements to create a leadership survey with a Likert scale (Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree) to tally the responses.
Example: Is not approachable!
Conversion: Makes time for me when I would like to talk a minute
Example: Wants to make all the decisions
Conversion: Shares decision making with others
The survey was conducted in a way that required responses from all staff but in an anonymous way. The leadership team wanted candid feedback but also wanted to avoid modeling the use of partial data to make decisions for improvement. The first time this was done, the person of focus was me, the principal. This modeled an openness to request feedback on performance; the survey provided great information that helped me grow as an administrator. Positive and negative results were tallied and shared with the staff along with an action plan to improve my leadership practice. Within a few months, some team leaders and department chairs were willing to replicate a similar survey with their teams, which eventually led to teachers replicating the practice in their classrooms with their students.
How do you know you are providing the leadership your staff expects from you?
How are you modeling skills for the adults you work with?