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dissonance & brainbows

October 13, 2012

Workers are calling for…. by Todd Wheatland (permission obtained for image use).

G’day to fellow Sandgroper and Curtin University & UWA graduate now-living-in-Paris, Todd whose infographic caused me some disruptive thinking over the last few weeks. Two main reasons I experienced a dose of cognitive dissonance:

  • Had 170 000 surveyed workers been evenly exposed to all 4 leadership styles, and therefore felt qualified to judge which mode was most desirable, or was the preference hypothetical?
  • To what extent do/ should the values and cultures of business leaders overlap with current leadership practices in education?

CC image credit

Due to the constraints of my Curriculum Innovation assignment deadline and word limit last week, I was unable to include Todd’s survey findings in my guide, which was a pity; features of leadership and its various brands (transformational, situational, creative, ethical, trait theories, distributed models) seem pertinent to any discussion about yielding innovative improvements.

CC image source

No answers in this post, sorry. Just curiosity at work stoking the fire of contemplation. Maybe you can tell me which educational leadership style(s) you prefer – here’s a poll:

In The Fourth Way, Hargreaves & Shirley challenge management and market fallacies which postulate bureaucracy and the market as central tenets of improvement: Democracy and professionalism are their preferred heartsongs (Harris, 2011). My inner “Danger Will Robinson” robot is intoning “Never a checklist, always complexity” (Fullan, 2001, p. 5). So, would that render effective leadership a differentiated model?

CC image source

If this brainbow has left you in want of good advice:

Leaders interrogate reality; they question, and engage others in the process of seeking better solutions – Scott McLeod

  • visit Leadership Freak, Dan Rockwell either via Facebook, Blog or Twitter;
  • ignite passion for praxis with George Couros’ leadership 2.0 model of educational paradigm shifting (Next Tuesday’s session Embodying Visionary Leadership begins @ 7am Wednesday for us  in Perth).

Selected references

Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Franisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Harris, A. (2011). Reforming systems: Realizing the fourth way. Journal of Educational Change, 12(2), 159-171. Retrieved October 3, 2012 from EBSCO host.

Whealand, T. (2012). Workers are calling for leadership styles that favor. Retrieved September 30 2012, from Kelly OCG Outsourcing and Consulting Group website:

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2013 11:34 am

    Great post. I’m not drawn to a preferred leadership style. This is just trait theory rebadged for a new age.
    The burning question is about what leaders do. You won’t find the answers to leading in looking at leadership. You’ll find them in what they do, how they do it, and the evidence that shows it has been done.
    Leading is about doing, not “being” or having some sort of preferential style. What and how you do what you do as a leader is your style

    • January 12, 2013 5:26 pm

      Thanks, Greg, for your contribution to this topic.
      More and more I appreciate the parallels between leadership and Buddhism; practice is the key, and both are experiential modes of living. As you point out – doing, not being.
      Despite being attracted to infographics, my goal in this post was to scour away at the surface of Todd’s message because the disconnect between what those numbers seemed to indicate, and my own experience of what is, was bothersome.

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