LEADING LIGHTS     Issue 2 | 2021

Murray Fletcher


Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou

by |  Dr. Murray Fletcher |

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Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou

As we continue to ‘navigate’ in a different world I notice people continuing to create time and space to devote to what matters to them. It was reinforced for me the ‘magic’ that those engaged in the daily ‘service’ of creating learning experiences for ākonga, can and do, make happen.

In this issue I reflect on the voices of both members and non-members as ‘heard’ in both the online Leadership Forums ( we have had two of these) and there are ‘notes’ from leaders – in -action, in their schools and centres. It is powerful to hear these voices. You are encouraged to join us in the Leadership Forums to add your voice.

We salute the late Mike Milstein and can read an obituary from the Nelson Branch.

Chris Henderson (currently a doctoral fellow at Columbia University in New York), writes about researching teachers’ work and well-being in conflict and crisis-affected contexts.

Emeritus Professor Ross Notman contributes a reflection on the book “Te Kai a te Rangatira” Leadership from the Māori World.
Our NZEALS President Jay Kedian shares news of the 2022 Conference with us.

Leadership matters! People matter! A human approach to leading people matters.

The following whakatauki sits well with me

Ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi

when the old net is cast aside, the new net goes fishing.

I am continually reminded (as is Sivers, in the clip in the references below), about what is obvious and everyday to one person, can be extraordinary and even transformative to another person.

The conversation at the present time is crucial; the everyday conversations that assist, deal with, sustain, develop or transform, and the trans-sector, trans-global, connecting conversations that are focused on re-imagining and re-thinking education, teaching and leading as we experience this changing world, that is creating a momentum for change and transformation.

I shy away from the term ‘post-pandemic’ used by some as many jurisdictions are still dealing with their own critical scenarios. I also shy away from what some consider to be an ‘outrage’ when it may be referring to a very small blip in someone’s ‘normal’ existence and chain of supply.

What is important is that these conversations focused on ‘re-imagining’ education MUST involve those engaged in the everyday learning that happens in schools and centres. This is an important partnership; one that is made even more powerful when it involves leader practitioners (those leading in organisations with daily actions and practice) and academics (those researching and thinking about leadership as a concept and practice).

Simon Sinek offers us this gem -

"Leaders are not responsible for the results. They are responsible for the people who are responsible for the results."

These questions resonated with me when proffered in a global forum-

  • How can we create, nurture, and sustain livelihoods and projects that serve the work of reuniting people, the land, and the sacred?
  • What creative possibilities are waiting to emerge when like-minded and like-hearted individuals come together to imagine and implement radical beginnings?
  • What does inclusive leadership, grounded in an ethic of care, look like in an unfolding apocalyptic reality?

The idea of co-creating spaces of renewal, reciprocity and reverence sits well with me as does the notion that ‘leaders are messy’ (Connor, 2021); a requirement for future success. Connor offers that compassion comes before professionalism; that the focus is more on outcomes than processes and that there is power in the not knowing. For Connor, it is a distinctly human approach.

The notions of leader as infiltrator, as disrupter and as radical listener are surfacing. Brigit Russell, May 2021) uses the term ‘bubbles of co-listening’ as a different way of coming together. Brigit writes,

“If we listen to each other & make sure we all feel heard in our work together, then perhaps we won't need to contrive engagement processes & formalise our interactions so much. We can be people who talk together as equals, who understand & value each other's contributions fully.”

It is exciting for us as ‘Rauhuia’ (The Teaching Council) gathers momentum and creates a life of its own.

“Leadership Space serves as a tūāpapa, a foundation, to help teachers unleash the power of their leadership in the lives of children, young people and the community.”

(Teaching Council NZ 2021)

As we go further on this leadership journey I am reminded of the difference between a western mindset and an indigenous one. The Cherokee elder, Stan Rushworth referred to the ‘rights’ of early western settlers versus the ‘responsibilities and obligations’ of indigenous people. Stan stated, “Instead of thinking I am born with rights, I choose to think that I am born with obligations to serve past, present and future generations, and the planet herself.”

Maybe that is how we need to Be in leadership.

I wish you insightful reading.

Kā mihi mahana

Dr. Murray Fletcher ( Edition Editor)


Why 'Messy' Leaders are the Future (entrepreneur.com)
Obvious to you. Amazing to others. - by Derek Sivers - YouTube

*Journal of School Leadership

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