On Leadership: New Beginnings

View from the bridge

On January 9, 2018, EDDE 804, Leadership and Project Management in Distance Education, met online for the first time. The cohort reunion was sweet, and our initial conversations were inspiring. Leadership is a topic that interests me. I’ve attended leadership conferences, and have explored leadership concepts and issues by reading and discussion.  For example, pre-half marathon training runs were fueled by conversations around emotional intelligence and trust with my running buddy, an organizational coach. Although, I have never held an official leadership role, I have assumed the mantle of leadership in informal ways, and have noticed that in some situations and circumstances, others have looked to me for direction. The presence of followers has been scary at times, and affirming in others.

The introductory conversations in the forum for EDDE 804 surrounded the definition of leadership. I think Larry’s comments put it best, where he expressed that he is still trying to wrap his head around the concept of leadership. In my post, I wrote about my new-found idea that leadership embodies both role and process, which I had read about in Latchem and Hannah (2001). In the past, I have seen leadership more the function of a person, but by examining leadership as a process, I hope to grow a more robust definition and understanding of this concept, as well as develop thoughtful answers to the other questions proposed:

  • Why do we study leadership in education innovation?
  • Where do you see the value and importance of leadership in the current state of education?

My current responses to these questions include the following thoughts on the value and importance of leadership in education and the value of its study, strongly influenced by reading Cleveland-Innes (2012):

  • We are going to be leaders.
  • We are already leaders.
  • Leadership is an essential skill of an educator.
  • Changes in education require leadership.
  • Changes in society impacting education require leadership.
  • New ways of learning require new models of leadership.
  • We can learn, and make application by studying what has worked in the past and why it has worked.
  • Education as a public good is too important to not be led well.

Cleveland-Innes, M. (2012). Editorial: Who needs leadership? Social problems, change, and education futuresThe International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning13(2), 232-235.

Latchem, C., & Hanna, D. E. (2001). Leadership in open and flexible learning. In Leadership for 21st century learning, (pp. 53-62). NY: Routledge.