Leadership from an ASL perspective

(School Pepeha)

Ko Maungawhau te maunga

Ko Ruareoreo te awa

Ko Te Ti Tūtahi te wāhi

Kei Tāmaki-Makaurau ahau e noho ana

Ko Newmarket te kura

He kaiako matua hoki i te Kāhui Ako o ACCoS

Ko Reynolds tōku hapū

Nō Hāmoa ahau

Ko Sonya tōku ingoa

Nō reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa

Malo le soifua ma le lagi e mama, talofa lava.

Leadership from my ASL perspective.

For me leadership is about service and growing others. Leading others focuses on actions that will shape the culture of learning more powerfully and develop the professional capital of teachers as a group and not just within our Kahui Ako. Leading others also implies that I have followers. In my current situation the followers are the ISL and other teachers that I work with. In this leadership reflection I am influenced by the leaders I admire and their research on leadership and learning. These include Alma Harris, Michael Fullan and John Hattie. However historically I am also influenced by my discussions with Tupua Tamasese, Patisepa Tuafuti and of course our own Pam Hook. The last three know me well and have a way of pushing my thinking deeper by encouraging me to peel away my layers of thinking.

Characteristics of my leadership style

Recently as an Across School Leader (ASL) in the Auckland Central Community of School (ACCoS)) Kāhui Ako, I was asked to complete a Clifton Strength Assessment.This tool helps individuals discover their top five strengths. I have simplified the feedback received and have focussed on aspects of how I contribute to ACCoS.

  • According to the Clifton Strength Assessment, my top five strengths are

1. Achiever:  I help others achieve more and break down ideas into Milestones

2. Learner: I see the world as things not yet learnt

3. Strategic: I am always firing and considering a path forward and obstacles to overcome. I understand when I need to go back and explain the process and give people time to understand the next step forward.

4. Connectedness:  I find ways to keep informed on what is going on around us and I make and see links between events in the community and our work.

5. Responsibility: I see our work (mahi) is about making progress because we made a contract when we said yes to the ASL role. I am the accountability partner because I  have the eye for the commitments that the group has made and know who is counting on us to ensure we follow through.

I would also like to include awareness as a skill too. Awareness that we are part of a larger networked system and so I continually seek ways  for the collaborative development of leadership. I identify conditions required to enable us to work with each other, across sectors and with related agencies regionally, nationally and globally in ways that enable learning and development for all akonga . In the current climate of COVID, this includes embracing synchronous and asynchronous ways of working. Some educators call this Hybrid Learning. By using the Clifton Strength Assessment I have used the opportunity to reflect where I am on my own leadership journey and using the information gained will help ACCoS improve our work culture and performance.The results are not enough if we do not reflect on them. 

Leadership Values 

I have several values that I think about in my mahi and continually look at ways I am including them. They are Tautua, Va Fealofani and Faamanuiaga and these values come from my Samoan language.

Over the years I am continually guided by the alagaupu or proverb.

“ O le ala o le pule ole Tautua which means ‘The path to leadership is through service’.”

 I am conscious of Tautua or service to lead others. 

Maori have a word ‘whanungatanga’ and in Samoan it is  Va Fealofani. Put simply whanaungatanga is about respectful relationships and at the same time whanaungatanga is much more than that.

Manaakitanga is about the care and responsibility we give to people around us. It is about hospitality in our environment. In Samoan we say Faamanuiaga or the blessings we bestow on others.

Success as a Leader

My success as a leader is my service to lead others. I evaluate success on how I make people feel and contribute. I thrive when the people I work with succeed.   I fly high when I see learners gain confidence and grow. I believe in transparency and output and have often said if we cannot see the product then it does not exist. 

The relationship between ASL leadership and ACCoS

Overall  ASL must look for ways to maximise interaction between themselves, the In School Leaders that they work with and the senior leadership teams of the schools they work with and their community. In addition they go beyond themselves and cross sectors and identify related agencies regionally, nationally and globally in ways that enable learning and development.

We must develop our own leadership capabilities in order to be effective in terms of developing professional leadership and any form of leadership development programme should operate within the network. We must not work independently from Kāhui Ako regionally and nationally.  We must continue to look for ways to connect with other learning communities globally to learn with and from them.

Implications for mentoring ISL in their leadership roles

I believe that as ASLs in  ACCoS, we must share our learning and regularly reflect in a transparent way. Yes this includes putting our work out so that it is accessible nationally and globally. Some of these ways can be via social media, through blogging and presenting. We must hear all voices in our community and actively seek ways to create dialogue particularly with the In School Leaders that we work with. The mahi that we do is based on changing our own practice and to develop networked system leaders for New Zealand schools.

Coaching has enhanced my leadership development

In the ACCoS Kahui Ako the ASLs are regularly coached by a certified leadership coach. I look forward to these sessions as they help me with accountability and output.

Regular coaching helps me reduce the gap from where I am to where I want to be. The coaching process enables me to clearly see the process of what I still need to do and therefore enhances my professional effectiveness and my ASL performance.

Currently I work alongside two other ASLs in the Leading Local Curriculum Initiative and coaching with our leadership coach enables me to utilise the skills of all to clarify and develop a pathway forward in the mahi.  What I have learnt the most about coaching is the idea of building trust. That what I hear and say out loud ensures a clarity of my own thinking and the conversation is based on what is going well. The GROWTH framework used supports the thinking process and highlights the structure of success in ensuring there is a factor of accountability without being threatening. 

When I first began coaching I think I used it as a way to correct what needed doing. However as I was coached and learnt the process of coaching I now see coaching as a way of understanding about changing my own practice in order to coach others to do the same. As an ASL I have learnt how to phrase my coaching statements in a positive and non threatening way and how to respond in a non defensive manner. I have also learnt to take on learning conversations by being prepared using the GROWTH coaching framework.

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