Unit 2b: Disruptive Leadership – literature reviews

This week has been full of playing “devil’s advocate” and really looking deep into putting myself into someone else’s shoes in regards to leadership styles.  Not just from an administrative point of view, but from a classroom point of view as well.  I have been looking to my colleagues and analyzing their leadership styles, what is working for them and how I could incorporate that into my craft to help carve out my ideal leadership qualities.

Leadership, more or less?

‘Followership is a relational role in which followers have the ability to influence leaders and contribute to the improvement and attainment of the group and organizational objectives. It is primarily a hierarchically upwards influence’ (Carsten et al, 2010: 559).   

I really appreciate this quote because I have never thought of a fellowship approach before.  I also like that the leader is working towards an upwards influence, rather than a downwards influence.  To me, it feels like the leader is valuing the ideologies of those working for them.  I like the idea of a team approach.   I feel like this leader is connected to those that look up to him.  Although this quote supports the Relationship/Transformational theory of Leadership, it blows the “Great Man” theory out of the water.

Critical and Alternative Approaches to Leadership Learning and Development

One area that is being developed as an alternative view and that better appreciates context as well as emotions of becoming and being a leader is the move towards aesthetic and artistic methods of management and leadership learning and development (Gayá Wicks and Rippin, 2010; Hansen and Bathhurst, 2011; Taylor et al., 2002).

Things that make you go hmm.   I am all for creativity in the classroom, and even find myself gravitating towards the Creative Leadership Theory, but I don’t really understand this quote and will definitely need to do some more research into this.  It has piqued my interest so to speak.  I do not understand how one would deal with hard issues in an artistic method of management?  How does a communicative leader do this?   The type of leader who would be able to carry out this type of leadership effectively would have to employ Trait theory – but maybe some of the “Great Man” theory as well?  I am a bit confused on this one and would like to see it in action.  Is anyone else as confused as I am?

Avoiding Repetitive Change Syndrome

Many companies, divisions, departments, and even subunits lack organizational-change speedometers. Their tendency is to increase the speed of change until they are traveling dangerously fast.

Just like Jennifer, I feel that a lot of school staff feel this change chaos directed from the division level.  Unfortunately, a lot of the people in the division office have not been in schools for a long time (some have never been in a school – HR for example) and do not understand or remember employee burnout when asking for teachers, staff, administrators to collect more data or fill our more surveys on top of the every demanding teaching load (growing class sizes, less supports in classes, greater diversity, and planning in classes) placed on teachers. As division office leaders, they are wanting to ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished to their requirements.  But not necessarily understanding what it is doing to their staff.  We now have lost prep time in our teaching day – 10% prep plus 4 prep days throughout the year.  One of those prep days is in the middle of final exams at the end of the year – why????? That is not helping us.  Yet, we are asked to do more.  While I do believe that our leaders are trying to make sound and timely decisions: Use good problem solving, decision making, and planning tools for the betterment of the division, I do questions how they go about doing it, and if their leadership style is appropriate.

The stupidity paradox: The power and pitfalls of functional stupidity at work.

The first aspect of stupidity is an absence of reflexivity. This happens when we stop asking questions about our assumptions. Put simply, it involves taking for granted what other people commonly think. We often fail to question dominant beliefs and expectations. We see rules, routines, and norms as completely natural: they are just how things are. Members of the organizations don’t question these deep-rooted assumptions – even if they think they are idiotic.

Ohh, so many thoughts. I feel especially in our current educational climate this may change.  Currently, we have leaders who rule in a Democratic leadership style, but we have educators and professors who are now questioning the systems and it may be time for a change.  In schools we behave as we always have, we run by a bell system (again, why?), we believe in grades to tell us how well we are doing (again, why?), and no one questions this. It is so robotic. Maybe we need this, but then again, maybe we don’t?   I really feel that this type of leadership will change, an no, it will not be welcomed with open arms, nothing ever is.  But as was noted in a previous article, change is change, it isn’t bad, but it can hurt if done wrong.

Cross-Cultural Understandings of Leadership

“…when a group or tribe needed to make important decisions, the method of arriving at that decision was through talk.  All participate.  All listened.  Decisions were arrived at when the talk had exhausted and the issue and direction for action was established.”

This is a great quote that envelops my ideology of leadership.   Summing up the Creative Leadership approach nicely.  It is what I would hope that all organizations would base their leadership approached on, although I know that is not always the case, nor could it be in some situations (emergency personnel, military, etc).  But it is how I would like to envision policies are created, put in place and ready to be carried out.   For me personally, a leader who takes not from Lakota Leadership is employing all 6 C’s that a strong leader would poses.



3 thoughts on “Unit 2b: Disruptive Leadership – literature reviews”

  1. Hey Carla,
    Great post – I really like how you dug deep into the quote about increasing the speed of change but not realizing they are travelling too fast. So so true. I know we live in a world with never-ending change, I mean you blink and we have 3 new iPhones on the market!
    Those sitting behind desks really don’t know what it is like in the classrooms now a days. Yes, maybe there WERE teachers once upon a moon, but times have changed. There are cell phones being brought to school, there are children who don’t know how to speak English, there are classrooms that are too small for the 30 student-classroom they have no problem forming. Yes, they want to keep the monies flowing in, yes we need to fill out 14 forms to get a child seen by a counselor, yes we will email a parent everyday to let them know that their child didn’t hit anyone today – sure, why not, we all have 36 hours in 1 day. What the division is not seeing is the pressure and stress they are putting on all of us. We still are trying our best to meet ALL the needs of our students by planning amazing lessons and wonderful activities to make learning more fun, but the time is just not there anymore. They keep putting things on our plate but forgetting to remove some too.

    Loved it – thanks


  2. Hey Carla,

    I’m glad the readings made you think! Regarding your question about artistic and aesthetic methods in leadership education, I would say this quote sort of sums it up:

    “The article critically explores the findings of a drawing activity with undergraduate, postgraduate and executive students and suggests some interesting insights into the
    implicit theories at work here – for example, the relative absence of followers from the pictures and the frequent focus on heads rather than whole people as a largely rational view of leadership – as well as the more expected gender and race stereotypes. Schyns concludes by discussing the potential of the drawing exercise for overcoming some of the potential barriers to leadership learning implicit in more traditional methods…”

    It’s like when a little kid draws a picture of their family, and there is no mom in it, you know something is wrong. Similarly, if a potential leader draws a picture with no followers in it, then something is clearly wrong! Hope this helps!

    – Steve


  3. Hello Carla, I really enjoyed reading your post. As I read, a lot of thoughts crossed my mind as well. I agree when people on the outside have us jumping through hoops to meet their needs so unaware of how busy a classroom teacher is. There are so many people involved in the education realm that make decisions on our behalf, yet they haven’t stepped into a classroom much less know what happens in the school. I always disagreed with our superintendent coming in to observe us for 15-20 minutes out of the school year and then basing our evaluation on that short visit! I agree with your comment about the 6 C’s, I too feel strongly that what makes a leader, a good one. Teaching is a busy life. Thank you for your insight.


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