If you stopped by my blog a week or three ago, read a book review that you enjoyed, and decided to follow, you may be surprised and disappointed by my most recent posts. They have been very academic in nature, and probably not all that meaningful unless you work in the area of librarianship or education.
Please don't lose heart! I will still be regularly posting book reviews, stories about my life, and other bits and pieces. It's just that I'm trying to get on top of all my academic reading for this semester, and I'm using this blog to record my thoughts on what I read, and to list links that I might need to access for my assignments.
As an introduction to ETL504 'Teacher Librarian as Leader', I have read Chapter 14 'Leadership' in Donham, J. 2005 Enhancing teaching and learning, 2nd edn, Neal-Schuman, New York, pp. 295-305.
There was a lot of great stuff in this chapter; I'm only going to mention things that particularly stand out for me at the moment.
- "leaders act from an internal locus of control." p. 296 Leaders know that they have the power to control their own actions and the responsibility to have a positive effect on their environment. They have a 'can-do' attitude and are proactive, looking for opportunities to make a difference.
- Leaders should work to be the very best in their areas of special strength, pursue what they are deeply passionate about, and use this passion to generate enthusiasm and energy. They should then strive to be as good as is reasonable in other areas. This is a new idea for me, and I find it very freeing. I've always wanted to do everything very well, I've had high expectations for myself and have probably put myself under more pressure than was necessary. I love the idea that if you pursue excellence in an area that is meaningful to you, it's OK to be only 'good' in other areas. Whew! What a relief!
- "strategic leadership as the simultaneous act of executing, evaluating, and reformulating strategies, and focusing organisational energy and resources on the most effective strategies." p. 301 In other words, as you pursue a strategy, you are constantly refining that strategy by making evaluations and adjustments.
- A clear, easily stated vision can lead to a mission statement, which provides a focus for goals.
Perhaps the thing that stands out the most to me in this chapter is the idea of reflecting on progress towards goals, and making changes to your behaviour as necessary to improve. The idea appeals to me because it implies that you don't do everything perfectly at first, and that's OK! You can calmly and deliberately evaluate your progress and decide to do things differently. I guess I've always felt stressed by the idea that as a leader, you should be very 'together' and 'on top of things'. I really like the idea of improving as you go!
I'm eagerly waiting for two books I won to arrive in the mail. When they do, you'll be the first to know!