“Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work” Seth Godin
When I think about the times when I have been part of change, both big and small, I am drawn into a nostalgic recollection of emotion. The relief I felt when I was a beginning teacher in a small preschool in Melbourne when my colleague (we called her an assistant back then) gently guided me through the process of welcoming a child with additional needs into the service – something I had never done before. The frustration I experienced when I was part of an organisational re-structure that I felt very strongly did not consider the implications for those of us who supported young children and their families. And then, the sense of pride when I watched the committee of the children’s centre I managed, agree to employ our first bilingual educator – something that would radically alter our relationship with our community.
These were all significant moments of change in my professional life. They shaped who I was and what I now have come to understand about quality and early childhood education. But what made me feel so differently about them? Why did one encounter bring me joy and another end with a deep sense of dissatisfaction? It strikes me that my experiences of change, good and bad, were all about being led. Who led the change and how they went about it?
At its best, this leading was about how the people around me supported me to step up into change, take responsibility, and see that I could take on new ideas and practices. At its worst, it was leadership that was remote and uncommunicative that left me guessing about the reason for the decision and how my perspective had not been included.
You will have noticed that the people I reminisce about were not necessarily the badge-wearing, lanyard assigned ‘captains of the show’. Still, they were all leading me through the process of becoming different. Stepping into change, supporting others to manage change positively can be everyone.
Change and leading are closely related. Leading at its best is the art of creating space and opportunity for transformation and improvement. Change, now a guaranteed part of our lives, is made more meaningful when leaders support the process and remind us of how we can all play a part.
It leaves us with a big question. How can we build a community of practitioners who all see themselves as leaders of change? Who all take their part in creating education and care that recognises the capacity of a group of committed individuals to work towards a collective best interest!
In short, it’s an ethical decision – one made every day. An essential professional choice to become more proactive, to be more engaged, more solution focussed and to be masters of our own destiny. In psychological terms, it’s to cultivate a growth mindset…
… People who believe that things change and that we all grow and learn. They understand that we are all contributors to quality and that we ought to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. They also believe that collaboration, open-mindedness and hard work creates success. They have been proven right.
Time to decide.
Authored by Catharine Hydon
Catharine will be delivering a 3 part webinar series on Becoming leaderful: Stepping into change, see our EVENT page to register.