Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lead Like a Good Teacher - Be Principled

Good leadership is similar to good teaching. You can also say that good teaching is really good leadership.

I have used the last few posts at Lead Quietly to draw links between the critical behaviors of a teacher to critical behaviors of a good leader.

Here is the complete list of the critical teacher behaviors and the same behaviors applied to leadership:

Five Critical Behaviors of a Teacher

Five Critical Behaviors of a Leader

Teach to an objective

Lead to an objective. Have clarity in your misison.

SELECT an objective at the appropriate level of difficulty.

Put people in a position and role where they can succeed.Pursue clarity in roles.

MAINTAIN the focus of the learner on the learning.

MAINTAIN the focus on the follower.

USE without abuse the Principles of Learning (Active Participation, Motivation, Closure, Reinforcement)

USE without abuse the Principles of leadership (Active Participation, Motivation, Engagement, Trust)

MONITOR and adjust.

MONITOR and adjust.

Guiding Principles

In this post, I focus on the the fourth critical behavior of teachers and leaders, where success in either area requires use of core guiding principles.

I am a fan of guiding principles. In my day job in information management and business intelligence, the domain's guiding principles drive good practice and propose an appropriate course of action for most design and application decisions.

Principles of Learning

Madeline Hunter's Instructional Theory into Practice model for teaching mastery proposes four key principles of learning that should be used. The principles focus on active participation, motivation, closure and reinforcement. An exploration of these four principles are beyond the scope of this article. However, I would like to discussion reinforcement and describe a teacher trick that I frequently use when presenting to my team or other group.

Most of us understand the basic principles of reinforcement from our studies in psychology where we learned about B.F. Skinner and positive and negative reinforcement. We generally understand that positive reinforcement increases the probably of response while negative reinforcement will tend to supress response.

Now imagine that you are presenting to a group and you pose a question to the group. For the purpose of this discussion you pose the question, "What is two plus two?" The first response that you get is "five." Five is flat out a wrong answer. And if you as the presenter say, "Wrong", you may never get another response from that audience member. Negative reinforcement will suppress response. It's not possible for you to say "Good answer!" So how do you neutralize the wrong-answer response that you need to give?

The teacher trick is to convert every response to a right answer. So when the audience member responds with the wrong answer "five," you can convert that into a right answer by saying, "Thank you. If I had asked 'What is two plus three?' the answer would be five. However, I had asked 'What is two plus two?' so "four" is the answer."

In this simple response, you converted the wrong answer into a right answer for a new question and made better use of the principles of learning.

Use but do not Abuse the Principles of Leadership

For nearly four years, I have written at Lead Quietly, about topics that I consider to be the essential principles of leadership. Readers of this blog understand my passion for principles like learning, collaboration, engagement, communication, community, balance, vision, and trust. I do not intend to reintroduce these principles in this post.

However, I thought I would reuse a visual concept that I first used back in a 2008 post, Lead Quietly, Can you state that in 25 words or less? where I used Wordle to present a visualization of Quiet Leadership. Here is my new visualization about the principles of Quiet Leadership that you should use but not abuse so that you can lead like a teacher.


My hope is that the visualization presents a reminder about leadership principles that should be used but not abused.

Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly with principles.


No comments: