Situational Leadship: A Vision for the Future


Note: this is the final post in a six-part series on Situational Leadership in Pitt County Schools; to read the other posts please click here.

Unknown.jpegOver the past six weeks I’ve taken some time to examine leadership in general, then I introduced you to the Situational Leadership framework.  After that we spent a week looking at the the importance of identifying a task and assessing current readiness for a follower to perform that task followed by an explanation of how to then lead someone using the SitLead framework.  Finally, last week we talked about aligning SitLead with other initiatives in Pitt County Schools in an effort to show that it’s not “another” thing from “out there”, but rather it provides a way for us to think about things we’re already doing but thinking about (and doing) them more efficiently.

So today I’ll try to give you a little vision for the “next steps” of the process.  Situational Leadership is more than a one-day training (or six-week blog series!)  Situational Leadership is how we are working on doing the business of leadership.  So far nearly 100 leaders across the district have been formally trained in what is called the Building Leaders program; that training focused on central office administrators, principals, and assistant principals – and hopefully you’re seeing how they are leading differently as you follow. Additionally, nearly a dozen of us have been through a training called Building the Organization where we looked at how to apply the framework at the organizational level, and an additional 10 or so of us have been certified as trainers in various aspects of SitLead.  To say we’re investing a significant amount of time and resources in this initiative would be an understatement.  But the question is still, “So what next?”  We’ll, let’s take a look down the road…

SitLead Through 2019

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The next step is for all those people who completed Building Leaders to participate in a 360-degree assessment.  The benefits of 360-degree assessments were introduced earlier this year in a post by Lori Collins, and I would encourage you to read that post if you’ve no done so already.  And while the particular survey Lori referred to is different than the one we will use for SitLead, the concept is the same: one of the most effective ways for me to grow as a leader is to receive feedback from those who watch me lead – including those who supervise me, those who work along side me, and those I lead.  In November we’ll have central office administrators, principals and APs sending out requests to receive feedback on their leadership style, then when we come back after Christmas break we’ll debrief those results and use them to plan for growth.

Unknown.pngThen in the spring we’ll take the next step with training our administrators and begin going through a program called Coaching to Build Capacity.  The same people who participated this fall in SitLead training will begin to drill down and look at specific behaviors they can use in the various leadership styles.  While most everyone has understood conceptually that how we might lead in an S1 style is different than how we might lead in an S3 style, the question we hear over and over is, “But what does it actually look and sound like?  Give me some specifics!”  So that’s what we’ll do!  While the following quote is about good coaches I would argue its true of all leaders (spoiler alert: in Coaching to Build Capacity we’ll learn that one person actually said “coaching” and “leadership” are nearly synonymous!):

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Moving into next year we’ll then look at how leaders can influence differently depending on the various power bases they have access to.  These next two steps (coaching and power) should easily take us through December of 2018; beyond that we’re also looking at providing training on adjusting our leadership style based not only on individual readiness but also personality style – and that takes us easily into the Spring of 2019!  The point of all this is to show you that we’ve set ourselves on a longer-term journey using the framework to better equip all of us as leaders (now, to be fair, some of these later offerings may be offered to specific people rather than entire groups – we still have to work that out).

SitLead for Teachers

“That’s great for administrators,” I can hear someone say, “but what about teachers?  Aren’t they leaders, too?” Well guess what, to put a little play on words: “There’s a training for that, too!”  This spring we’ll begin the process of piloting some SitLead trainings with various groups of teacher leaders.  The first two that we’ll start with are called Leading Teams: A Situational ApproachAdvocay Toolkit.jpg and Taking Charge.  While the first one is pretty self-explanatory given the title you may be wondering what the second one is.  Simply put, it’s a training to provide to those of us on the “follower” side of things so we can develop the skills and vocabulary to communicate what we need in a leader – to self-advocate.  It’s a way for a teacher to say to a principal, “In this situation here’s what I need from you as a leader in order for me to be successful as a follower.”  And to do it in a respectful, safe way.

It’s Just the Beginning…

It’s my hope that you are starting to see that the last six weeks we spent exploring the SitLead model was not a culminating experience based on something that happened back in August.  Rather, I hope you see it as an an introduction to work we’re currently doing and will continue to do over the next 2-3 years here in Pitt County Schools.  This is an exciting time to be here in PCS – an exciting time for leaders and for followers.  Honestly, in the 15 years I’ve been here I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed or experienced the investment and energy that our district is making in leadership like we are right now – and that’s a credit to our senior district leadership valuing those who lead (and serve) the students and community of Pitt County day in and day out.   So when you see them please make sure to thank them for their support, investment, vision, and hard-work.  I look forward to coming back to SitLead regularly in the future to explore how it can help us all improve our leadership skill – whether as district leaders, building leaders, or classroom leaders.  If you haven’t done so, please subscribe to this blog by clicking the “Follow” link on the right side of the screen so you get regular updates.

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