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leadership in schools

Leadership in schools: from vision to action

05 April, 2023
Leadership in schools: necessity, dynamic and complex process. Everything is changing around us. The way we work, the way we communicate, even the way we learn. In the past it took decades for change to permeate everyday life. Take the example of the internet. Social networks like Facebook took more than 5 years to become a global phenomenon. For Chat GPT, the most innovative conversational AI, this journey took only 2 months and is already having a visible impact, from the world's largest metropolises to the most remote traditional communities.

If change has become the only constant, the next question is how we can manage it to reduce anxiety and reap the benefits of the innovation it brings. Some leaders are successful in implementing and shaping change. To produce the desired positive results, they make intelligent use of the knowledge, tools and resources at their disposal.

When faced with inevitable change, it is valuable to define and adopt the best strategies, structures, procedures and technologies.

"The primary goal of change leadership is to successfully implement new processes, products and strategies. The goal is to ensure progress and drive a desirable future" says Kelsey Miller, editor at Harvard Business School.

School leadership: successful process with a focus on effective execution and linear leadership methods. Change happens when leaders have a clear vision and the right approach. An effective strategy is crucial. Organizations, institutions, and people are only able to successfully transition and adapt to any change that may occur when leaders make the right choices.

Change processes have a set of starting conditions (point A) and an end point (point B). The process between them is dynamic and takes place in stages.

Navigate and Embrace Change | Simon Sinek

Leadership in schools: from vision to action
The complete leadership guide to change

Leadership in schools: a proactive, people-centred approach. By viewing change initiatives as an opportunity for growth and improvement, rather than as a finished project, schools and nurseries achieve their goals. To do this, educational or institutional leaders are visionary, agile and responsive to the demands of society and understand how to overcome barriers and challenges.

Leaders of change are not the same as managers or practitioners of change. While change managers aim to achieve short-term goals, change leaders influence and advocate for long-term transformation initiatives that involve, to a large extent, the human resource, not just administrative and decision-making decisions.

Change leaders are those who engage in the initiative rather than dictate change.

Change leadership vs. change management 

Change management is associated with small-scale change and is a set of tools and/or measures to keep a change effort under control and provide solutions to any barriers or challenges. The aim is to minimise disruption to the change initiative, make it cost-effective and reduce the chances of failure. On the other hand, when we talk about change-focused school leadership, we are linking to the vision and effort behind large-scale transformational change, ensuring a more innovative and effective implementation process.

Types of change you can achieve in your school or nursery

Change is a given and a top priority in all educational institutions. We cannot deliver an education that is not in line with the society we live in and we cannot work in an environment that is oriented towards the past and not the future. Studies have consistently shown that between 50 and 70% of planned changes fail. Under these circumstances, how can leaders improve the chances of success? Change is complex and requires effective team collaboration and clear communication. Some of the most common types of change include:

People-centred change
As the name suggests, these are changes that have a strong effect on human resources. People can naturally be reluctant to change, especially if it is strong and far-reaching. An example of such a change might involve new teachers joining the school community. School and kindergarten principals are the resource people who provide the necessary integration and support. Incoming teachers are put in a position to quickly adopt the vision and goals of the educational institution. The community must also embrace this shift in team dynamics. To implement school leadership, principals need transparency, clear communication and empathy.

Changes with a focus on strategy
More often than not, schools and kindergartens adjust their strategy to gain an advantage, improve efficiency, respond to opportunities and meet challenges. When a school or nursery participates in a project, to ensure that objectives are met, both leaders and other team members invest resources. It is essential that the strategy is built together with the people and is in line with the jointly agreed objectives. When people are involved in the process and understand the mechanics, they are more open to new perspectives.

For school leadership, communicate openly, ask the team what they need, negotiate and establish what can and cannot be achieved.

Structural changes
Structural changes may include changes in hierarchy, redistribution of responsibilities or any other changes that affect the way the school or nursery is run and organised. Often, in this category of change, leaders who know what leadership style is most appropriate and act accordingly are able to maintain an active transformation process that produces the desired results.

Change with a remedial purpose
Changes with a focus on solving specific identified problems. Leaders or team members may identify and flag specific material shortfalls, shortfalls when it comes to money or personnel. They can then propose specific interventions for improvement. However, if the problem is not fully understood, interventions may not generate the desired results.

Change with a focus on technology
Digital transformation - or the use of digital technologies to improve teaching, learning and research and to enhance the experience of students as well as teachers - is undoubtedly a hot topic. The effort we invest in this transformation needs to be supported by the right teams with a shared vision and a flexible mindset, the necessary material resources and leaders who believe in this transformation.

Schools and kindergartens work and communicate more effectively with Kinderpedia. With Kinderpedia, your educational institution becomes a dynamic space with a digital footprint, anchored in the reality of today's society.
The field of education, with all its stages, subtleties and variables, is about shaping the next generation of scientists, leaders, inventors and artists, and technology can no longer be excluded from the process. Technology has already become so much, so fast and so strongly integrated into people's perception that its intertwining with education is natural and natural. Technology is present in every aspect of modern society and will be for a long time to come, alongside all the other factors and actors that make our world go forward.

How do leaders promote change in education?

Once a change has been implemented that has a significant impact on students, how can teachers and leaders help promote this change in educational processes?

  • Set clear targets;
  • Communication and focus;
  • Positive reinforcement.

Any significant change we introduce in school needs to be planned, implemented and sustained. Change leadership is only effective when people change their habits, are adequately prepared and agree to the benefits the change will bring.

"When we introduce changes, they are not imposed from the top down, but are based on research and best practice." - Nick Cross, Chief Executive at Kings Group Academies. Experts in the field point out that when leaders want to implement organisational change they need to follow several steps:

1. Establish the need
Change happens when we accept that we need it and know the data that leads to that need.

2. Create a change network
Leaders need an effective team to support the implementation of change and further foster a mindset focused on growth and adaptability.

3. Communicate effectively
Although communication can often be challenging, it helps to keep people engaged in the process by encouraging and promoting the same goal. Moments of brainstorming, sharing perspectives and aligning expectations are valuable.

4. Manage resistance to change
It is inevitable that some people will be resistant to the proposed change, for this reason it is valuable that the human resource is engaged, active and aware of all the necessary information that motivates and supports the implementation of change.

5. Focus on progress
Marking milestones and successes helps to demonstrate the progress that the team has made together and gives due credit to all those who have dedicated time to implementing organisational change. It also validates the reason for change and keeps all employees engaged in the process.

Change leadership has emerged as a natural outcome of transformational conditions in all areas of human endeavour. When identifying a need, decision-makers and educational leaders have the task of designing, together with their teams, a strategy for improving situation A, and leading all the elements involved towards a desirable situation B, through different methods and strategies.

An effective leader knows his or her strengths and uses them so that the set goals are achieved. At the same time, they manage to remain flexible and look at other styles that they have not yet mastered in order to get the big picture. When the leader juggles the advantages of each leadership style easily, he or she is able to quickly embrace the dynamic changes that inevitably occur. Together with their teams, leaders are challenged to keep pace with digitisation and new learning developments. It is important that children's educational needs are met at school and at home, and this can happen when the family-educational partnership is healthy. Find out why some of the most prestigious schools and kindergartens have chosen Kinderpedia and discover for yourself the benefits of the communication and management platform for education.

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