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Monday, January 02, 2017

Working with an Inexperienced Leader

As we gain experience, we also are met with the experience of working with leaders who have little experience. This can be a challenging event.

If structures are set up well, the new leaders, their roles, and expectations are introduced well. People know what to expect. Similarly if new leaders are led well, they typically make time up front to get to know the staff they'll work with, and with these introductions both staff and leaders will outline paths to collective good work and achievement.

When new leaders arrive with little communication, experience, or introduction, there's often disruption. The disruption includes substantial hearsay, conjecture, and missteps as both staff and leaders try to figure out what to do. Who is this new leader? What is his/her agenda? How will they lead us? What will they expect? How will they get to know who we are and what we do?

Those who choose to remain classroom teachers will work with new leaders. Hopefully greater teacher leadership, distributive leadership, and teams within teams will help to mitigate the sometimes awkward top-down and less effective leadership that is often at play in schools. Overall a sense of team works better when it comes to leading the teaching and learning.

When we work with any individual, leader or colleague, we have to see them as people first and treat them with respect and care. That can be difficult at times dependent on leaders' experience or agendas, but nevertheless, it's important. Good systems will work to introduce new leaders with care and camaraderie, and when that doesn't happen educators need to work together to foster that kind of welcoming, forward thinking, and collaborative approach.