What leadership really means

dancing-156041_1280This week, I had the opportunity to share some things my district is doing to move its way into the realm of virtual and blended learning. We have made some strides, but we have a long way to go before the dream of truly personalized learning is a reality.

As part of my presentation, I shared the video some of you may be familiar with, “Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy“. This video tied in well to the keynote speaker the day before, Steve Dembo, who had let us all know that the way to build new realities in school is to start off looking like a nut and hope that others will decide to join you so that you’ll look like less of a nut.

I have a respect for the video and the message it delivers, but it misses one vital point. In the video, nearly the entire crowd eventually joins in, either because it looks like fun or because everyone else is doing it and they don’t want to be ridiculed for not joining in. What I see in the video that is vitally important, however, is that the last folks who joined in the dance likely had no idea what the point of the dance was to begin with.

The movement caught on, but those who followed it didn’t necessarily know why it started in the first place.

In education, it is so important that we not only act as the lone dancing guy, or the first follower, but that we make sure that our message is so clear that it gets passed on through those that choose to follow.

If the dance itself becomes the focus, our vision is lost.

True leadership is often about laying the path and providing a venue for the “dancers” to take risks and for the “crowds” to follow. Laying that path takes strategic planning, future forecasting, and flexibility along with an acknowledgement that we are simply putting opportunities in place for others to grow.

Isn’t that, ultimately, what “school” is about?


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