Leading Change is Hard

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by m-c

Leading change is hard. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you it isn’t. If it was, I doubt there would be so many expensive books, people and programs out there that claim to revolutionise your working environment in ‘just a few easy steps’. The books on my coffee table currently include ‘Start with Why’, ‘Leaders Eat Last’ and ‘Think Like a Freak’…I have watched countless YouTube videos on leadership and educational change and I have listened to some amazing people share their stories about leading change. I think it is safe to say I’m always looking, reading and researching ideas to help me be better at my job.

I have been in my current position for a little over a year now. I have learnt a lot, a lot about leadership and I have learnt a lot about people. Some days I get so frustrated- a big part of my learning has been about patience and learning to understand that not everybody thinks the same way as I do…and may not be quick to take on new ideas and challenges like I do. I remind myself all the time to slow down- but it is so much easier said than done! I don’t recall having these kind of challenges with students I have taught- those challenges are different. But working with adults- well that is a whole other ball game. Don’t get me wrong- I absolutely love what I do- to be able to work so closely with teams of teachers and individuals…to challenge their thinking, to support them to take risks and try new things, it is amazing and incredibly rewarding…but it is hard!

In the past few weeks I have felt stilted by what I viewed as a lack of change and movement. I have constantly had to remind myself to take a step back and look at how far we have come- as a school, how learning is being transformed on a daily basis and how teachers are now challenging each other’s thoughts, ideas and reasoning. Instead of focusing on what is not happening, or that massive list of ideas I have…I have had to reign myself in and just relax and go with the flow…something that I am not comfortable in doing.

Today, three things happened that reinvigorated me and reminded me just how much impact I have had on some people I work with and how far their learning (and my own) has come.

1. I watched as two educators wrote a proposal to present at a conference, something they have not done before- and while they may be anxious about the whole experience, they have amazing stories to share it would be a shame if they were not shouted from the roof tops. Listening to them discuss what they wanted to do and say and reflect on what they have achieved says a lot for the effort and commitment they have made to their own learning.

2. I received a message that thanked me for challenging another’s thinking…something that I am myself thankful for with my wider networks of educators and friends I talk to. It is where I learn the most so to know someone thinks of me and what I do in a similar way confirmed I was asking the right questions.

3. I received a reply to an email I had sent yesterday asking for feedback about some of our Inquiry / CBL processes. The reply whilst may not have seemed like anything special to an outsider…clearly demonstrated how far this person has come in their own thinking about inquiry learning. What I appreciated most was when this person questioned me and could back it up…and made me think differently.

I felt compelled to write this post to celebrate the successes- however small they seem from the inside…they are pretty huge on the outside and will continue to motivate, engage and challenge me to keep on keeping on!

So yes, leading change is hard but it is most definitely worth it.

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5 Comments

  1. “Some days I get so frustrated- a big part of my learning has been about patience and learning to understand that not everybody thinks the same way as I do…and may not be quick to take on new ideas and challenges like I do.”

    Yup, I’m there too.

    I tend to do things in different ways until it works, Sometimes in three different ways for three different people, but always heading for the same endpoint. Eventually.

  2. Hi Alistair,

    Thanks for your comment- I agree with the need to do things and explain things in different ways for different people- that comes back to what I said about learning about people- sometimes what works for one will not work for the other- just like teaching students I suppose!

    Bec

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