Sunday, January 26, 2014

Responsible School Leadership

I enjoyed reading Corrie Stone-Johnson's (2013) paper on responsible leadership, which has caused me to reflect on my own leadership practice. The author discusses how responsible leaders serve as visionaries, stewards, servants, and citizens in and for their organizations. In this model, the leader primarily serves "to weave" members of the organization from these different perspectives to build and sustain relationships, ultimately to improve outcomes. Responsible leaders must be adept at these different roles and be able to synthesize actions associated with each to bring everyone in the organization together. Although this leadership model has been primarily studied in business settings, Stone-Johnson suggests it might be applicable to studying leadership in schools.  

As a school leader, I'm continually looking for evidence to put into practice to improve student and school outcomes, and I think this work on responsible leadership could be useful. School leaders understand that building relationships throughout a school is important for student learning, but Stone-Johnson has brought some clarity to this task by describing and explaining how school leaders can focus on relationships through the different roles of responsible school leadership. In my experiences, the roles of visionary and servant surface more quickly than those of steward and citizen. In my own practice, perhaps more emphasis on these latter two roles might result in improved relationships throughout our school.

I'm interested in your thoughts. Please discuss whether you think your school might benefit if it's leadership focuses on one or more of the following roles of responsible leaders, as defined by Corrie Stone-Johnson (2013, p. 5):
visionary - a leader who involves stakeholders in future thinking.
steward - a leader acts as defender of the organization's resources, including relationships and vision.
servant - a leader develops a vision that is aligned with stakeholder needs and goals.
citizen - a leader who acts as an integral part of the community.

Stone-Johnson, C. (2013). Responsible leadership. Educational Administration Quarterly. OnlineFirst Version of Record, November 20, 2013.

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