16 July 2015

Supporting and leading change

I keep referring back to assumptions in my reflections and am doing so one more time as I think about my role as we move into term 3. This term I am going to be thinking about deliberate acts of leadership that support change and disrupt thinking. In an essence, my one sentence job description: "build capacity, provoke thinking and maximise potential in others".

At SLT last term, I asked the team what deliberate acts of leadership did we need to be clear on to ensure that we keep moving forward collectively. I put the question out to my PLN and enjoyed the feedback that came back.  

It has been something that has kept running through my mind since. I think the biggest factor in supporting first and second order change is that as a leader, it is essential not to assume that the change is experienced by everyone in the same way you see it. I associate these changes to the adaptive challenges which I reflected on last month and I guess these could be classified as a kind of response to change. Response to first order change would generally require technical challenges while second order change would need adaptive challenges. It is important to take time to find out how each person is experiencing the change by talking about the change with them and to identify with them whether it is first order change or second order change

In my role, I think I need to then ensure I offer the right kind of "just in time support":

  • For people experiencing the change as first order change; I need to support with advice, experts, cheat sheets, manuals, visits, etc.
  • For people experiencing change as second order change I need to acknowledge that their responses could be primarily feelings based. 

I'd like to think that we can now embrace second order change and respond to it transparently. This kind of change will often take us into the pit and requires us to become the learners, to think deeply about our practice and to adopt/adapt to new and challenging ideas about our roles as mentors and educators.

"The single biggest failure of leadership is 
to treat adaptive challenges like technical challenges"
Ron Heifetz