SISEP eNotes: August 2014

Date Published: 2014-08-29


SISEP eNotes

Notes, News and Discussion from the
State Implementation & Scaling-up of Evidence-Based Practices Project

August 2014

Leadership that Counts


Leadership that counts makes a difference on purpose.  In high performing organizations, functional leadership is not just the purview of people in leadership positions, it is spread throughout the organization.  Everyone exercises leadership in one domain or another. 

Researchers who study leadership define it as ‘managing on behalf of others and solving problems’ (Hall; 2011, Senge, 2006, Marzano, et al:2005).  Leaders convey the vision of WHAT needs to be done — they arrange WHO does WHAT, they structure HOW roles are linked to functions, and they are clear about the desired OUTCOMES.

In education, leadership makes a difference by providing high levels of support for educators so they can meet the increasing expectations for student learning.  Leadership assures an emphasis on effective instructional practices and adequate support for teachers and staff (e.g., via training and coaching).  Leaders assure organizational processes are conducive for both effective instruction and effective teacher supports.

Leadership that counts makes use of data to inform decision-making.  Without data it is too easy to give up on change and return to familiar and comfortable ways of work when faced with the complexities inherent in change (e.g., feelings of loss and betrayal; feeling overwhelmed by the accumulation of unresolved issues).  With data, leadership can fix the problem, not the blame. 

All said, in education, effective leadership assures clear goals and effective supports are in place for teacher instruction of students.

Jumpstart your leadership team meetings

Many times leadership team meetings (state, district, building) are where implementation begins.  To purposefully manage change, implementation team meeting agendas might look something like this:

  • 5 minutes to state the problem
  • 5 minutes to review progress to date
  • 10 minutes to discuss possible plans of action
  • 20 minutes to make a plan (WHO does WHAT; WHEN and HOW they will do it)
  • 10 minutes to decide how to assess what is actually done and the immediate OUTCOMES (1 - 30 days)
  • 5 minutes to discuss review date and next steps

Leadership Resources

Active Implementation Hub Module 2: Implementation Drivers
In this online module, learners learn to identify the three types of Active Implementation Drivers and their components, understand the key functions of Drivers, and describe how Drivers are integrated and compensatory.  The module is free and available online with no registration for you and your learners.
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Marzano, R., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. (2005). School leadership that works: From research to results. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

Hall, G. E., & Hord, S. M. (2011). Implementing change: Patterns, principles and potholes (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Senge, P. M. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the fifth discipline. New York: Doubleday.

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