LEADING LIGHTS     Issue 3 | 2021

Being The Leader I Need


NZEALS Educational Leadership Forums

Connected conversations in ZOOM

Reflections by   Jonathan Young

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Wayfinding leadership

“I te kore ki te po ki te Ao marama. The journey from the void into the night and then into the world of light is at the heart of great leadership.”

“Our task is to reach into te kore and release that potential and create more light.”

The concept of wayfaring/wayfinding leadership resonates with me for several reasons.

The wayfaring Navigators were Rangitira who held great Mana. They were remarkably resourceful, skilled, and experienced in their craft. They possessed considerable wisdom passed down through the generations. They were strong risk takers, and leaders of others who recognised the needs of their people.

There are notions of adventure and excitement swirling around the image of the great navigators. This is tempered by the substantial hardship and privation involved in oceanic voyaging. The responsibility for success rested almost completely on the navigator. Getting it wrong, miscalculating the signs must have cost iwi dearly from time to time.

I like the idea of combining these concepts with educational leadership. Occasionally we operate in te Kore. We have the desire to create more light in our settings through change management and empowering others. The image conjures up an aspirational set of characteristics for the modern day leader to aspire to.

At the heart of our leadership are the tamariki. They are the motivation to take extraordinary risks to move them to a better place where the opportunities for them are far greater.

The concept of the mahi of Rangitira through weaving the group together is significant. It would be impossible to manage the change required on our own. We don’t possess the knowledge required individually. There is a necessity to take others with us and to empower them to use their expertise alongside us. There is a collective wisdom within our communities that might enable us. The mahi is about accessing this through connections and relationships we build.

“Leadership is forged through adversity.” The work is taxing but there is excitement and a little adventure as we make progress in our context . The tribulations we as leaders face force us to make changes to the way we operate to avoid meeting the same fate in the future. We grow our capability and the capability of others in ways that are mana enhancing.

“We need to adjust dynamically to our environment.” On the journey we need to upskill and build experience to be able to navigate the swells and troughs of leadership in our own context. Often we are assisting others to build their skill set so they have the confidence to perform. Responding to the environment brings a change in our approach and manner.

“When the going gets tough the tough get calm.” We do not operate in a calm environment free from distractions. But this is exactly what we require as leaders to be able to make sense of the complexity that confronts us daily. In an education setting this equates with not being in a hurry to solve problems immediately. Take time to see the issue and read all the signs that provide clues for us. Include others in decision making. Listen and consider carefully.