Thursday, 26 November 2009

Leadership Pathways: Leading Through Influence

The first online unit I completed in the course was Leading Through Influence. I wish I'd began with a different unit as this one wasn't exactly inspiring. But it did include some good practical advice.

The first part of the unit looked at learning conversations and made you think about how to get the most out of a conversation so that a conclusion is reached and each party can be satisfied.

Next I looked at communication and the way that communication should always be two-way. This was hardly groundbreaking stuff.

The next part was a bit more interesting. It was about psychological contracts. "What on earth are they?" I hear you ask! Well these are unwritten agreements that a member of staff has with the school. This might include leading an after school club, for example. The unit explored the effects of breaking psychological contracts on staff morale. It made me realise that we need to be aware of the psychological contracts in school so that I am aware of the efforts from every member of staff. At the same time I wouldn't want to turn them into written or spoken about contracts. When wanting to make changes I must consider the mutual trust between school and its staff.

I learned that staff meetings should begin with a 'checking in' where staff share ideas and thoughts from the week. They should end with 'checking out' where the main points of the meeting are reviewed.

There were different 'frames' suggested for conversations which could apply to different situations. Workshops are used when the conversation group comes together to share resources and create new ideas and solutions. Consultations are used when the group comes together to share knowledge about the focus and receive feedback. A forum is used to problem solve and debate and challenge. Hotseating is used when a member of the group needs to share their personal learning journey and so the group learns by asking questions.

The process of stakeholder analysis was a brilliant concept. When introducing change it makes sense to prioritise the stakeholders. You consider each person for their power and influence and for their interest in the change. You then decide where best to channel your efforts.
Overall I gained some good ideas about how to organise staff meetings and departmental meetings etc.
Diagram from 'Stakeholder Analysis and Management: Winning support for your projects' by R Manktelow.

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