|cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo|
shared by jonny goldstein
We thought attending the annual New Tech Conference in New Orleans would be a logical place to start our blog on co-leadership. As new Co-Directors in the New Tech Network, but not new to the network, the inquiry and comments on our new positions have been interesting and even curious. For example “So...you two are Co-Directing?”(usually in an inquisitive tone with perhaps a little skepticism mixed in) Our response in every case, “Yes we are and we’re very excited about it.” To our knowledge, we believe we are the first Co-Directors in the network.
To the two of us, there is nothing perplexing about our form of shared leadership. If you could partner with someone to lead a paradigm shift in education and completely transform a school into a learning organization, wouldn’t you want someone who could brainstorm with you, problem solve, build staff and student culture, question/challenge your views and share a vision? Perhaps we are an anomaly, but pioneering change requires not only a different method of instruction but a different way to demonstrate leading and learning for a future where collaboration and communication are the anchors to success.
John Maxwell puts collaboration this way in his book; The 17 Qualities of a Team Player
“Great challenges require great teamwork, and the quality most needed among teammates amid the pressure of a difficult challenge is collaboration. Notice that I didn’t say “cooperation” because collaboration is more than that. Cooperation is agreeable. Collaboration is working together aggressively. Collaborative teammates do more than just work with one another. Each person brings something to the table that adds value to the relationship and synergy to the team. The sum of truly collaborative teamwork is always greater than the parts.“
That excerpt, in short, encapsulates how we feel about this co-directorship opportunity. If we ask our learners and facilitators to collaborate and communicate on a daily basis, why can’t the same be asked of the directors? Do we buy into the model or don’t we? If we do buy in, then as many parts of the learning organization as possible need to have collaborative partners that both challenge and support the others thinking on a daily basis. We consider this to be our own personal hybrid of adaptive and distributed leadership.
Last year we were facilitators in our school and this year we are still facilitators. We are also now co-leaders to a staff that is doubling in size. These double roles bring about many challenges but enormous possibilities for maintaining instructional credibility and replicating the very team-based skills we support our learners in on a daily basis.
As we thought about the launching of this blog, eventually the conversation led to who should write the first post. It didn’t take us too long to come to the conclusion that if we are going to co-direct a school, it probably would be best to communicate in a unified voice. We anticipate some individual entries going forward but this just seemed more appropriate for the first post. We know that there are at least some eyes watching us out there. Some are quietly doubting others are audibly supporting. We welcome both. At our core, we both believe the sum of our strengths is greater than our individual contributions. We look forward to the challenges and obstacles that lay ahead, because it is through adversity that the greatest growth occurs.
We are both new at all of this(directing, blogging, etc.....). We welcome your feedback or your questions. If you have topics that you would like us to speak to in the future, we would love to hear those suggestions as well. Next post will most likely include the inspiration for our blog title.