LEADING LIGHTS     Issue 2 | 2021

Being The Leader I Need 600px


Leadership Forums

Conversations matter!

Forum conversations ( a reflection)   
Murray Fletcher for the Leadership Forum Team

Register here for all or any of the Leader Forums through terms two and three this year.

Come and join the conversation!

Conversations matter!

Nau mai haere mai!

Mā to mōhio,ka mārama,
Mā to mārama, ka mātau
Through discussion we become aware,
Through awareness we gain understanding,
Through understanding we gain proficiency and expertise

Participant: “I’m still learning what I need to DO [as a leader] and that’s important and ongoing – this discussion is helping me to think about who I need to BE”

The two Leadership Forum conversations held this year have had conversations focused on ‘seeking to become the leader I need to be’. These conversations have focused on the ‘self’, the person who is the leader and not on the role one plays. The Educational Leadership Capabilities Framework (The Teaching Council NZ) sits behind and beside these conversations as we explore what can be termed (Duignana, 2012) the relational, personal, professional and organisational capabilities required in leadership.

The conversations have explored what it means to be one’s authentic self, to bring one’s authentic self to leadership by being who you are, maintaining your own self especially in challenging times and when facing complexity. This self has a realness, a genuineness which shows courage, compassion, and connection.

A key idea emerged: ‘you are not the role; you are the person in the role’.

When focused on the ‘self’ there is a need for ‘self-care’, for nourishing oneself and to know when to step in and alongside and when to step away and step out, for one’s own self care.

The notion of creating space so as to be both constructive and productive, to be with others in this space and well as creating space for one’s self to flourish, has come through. This is about being human and having a sense of ‘humanness’ with one’s leadership.

As you partner with others with a sense of mahi tahi, there is an awareness that you do not need to, in fact, you cannot know everything and can therefore connect with the experience, knowledge and wisdom of others.

The concepts of whanaungatanga, Manaakitanga, kotahitanga and wairuatanga amplify what seems to matter here. This is about taking responsibility by being of service to others (and to your own self), valuing your self along with valuing others and valuing your own mana.

This is about being mindful (a term used a lot in education), about being self-aware, staying centred, calm, collected and composed (when one may not really be feeling like that).

This is about well- being (important for all in education). This is social, emotional and psychological well-being. It is about taha whānau, taha hinengaro, taha tinana and taha wairua.

It is about being open; not just the door for others, also the mind, heart and will. It is always being genuinely curious and open to challenge. Indeed, it is making one’s ideas and thought open to ‘being challenged’ and making this so o.k.. This entails for leaders, listening without judging.

It is about having these capabilities across many contexts and situations that assist you navigate by being agile, flexible and adaptive. It is more than just being competent.

It is about sense- making, for both yourself and with and for others. This means realising that there are many perspectives (all valid in themselves); assumptions held that need surfacing, thinking through, agreeing on as shared meaning before being articulated in daily behaviours, actions and practice.

The power of a shared vision and shared values in a culture of togetherness, cannot be underrated.