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Is Leadership Different in 21st Century?

I get excited about change, consider myself to be responsive and positive when change happens and truly believe that in today’s world the only constant is change.  So, after eight rewarding and amazing years as the Principal of Community & Continuing Education for  Hamilton Wentworth District School (HWDSB), I’m moving on in my leadership journey to a newly created principalship in HWDSB.  I officially began my role this September as the Principal of 21st Century Fluencies and I am humbled and honoured to be in this new role.

As I transitioned over the summer, I found myself spending  time reflecting and asking myself more and more:  How do we define leadership in the 21st Century?  Is it different?   What are the key leadership skills of today?   Are they different? What do leaders of the 21st Century do differently when it comes to:

  • inspiring a shared vision and setting direction
  • building relationships and developing together with people
  • focusing on learning and achievement for all

How do leaders in the 21st Century model the way, inspire a shared vision of learning as we move forward in the future?   How do we challenge the process and take risks empowering others to act and make a difference in the lives of our students and greater community?

For me, it starts with setting an example of  how we  learn in the 21st Century.  It is about always learning in today’s era of lifelong learning.   Also, leading  today is about connecting, collaborating and most importantly contributing in a local and global way.  And that’s part of what is different.  How do we do this?  We leverage the use of different tools such as social media to learn and collaborate real-time with others anywhere and anytime.  Our learning  reaches far beyond those we  network with in our schools.

Don’t get me wrong, we must always first focus on the staff and students who are onground learning day to day with us.  We model the way and practice collaborative inquiry with them.

A blogpost written  this week by Chris Lehmann, Principal of Science Leadership Academy  comments on his recent article in Tech & Learning Magazine, Top 3 Leadership Skills.  Chris underlines that leadership  today does not  “focus explicitly on tech skills”. He comments that it is the soft skills that are most important as you learn from your teachers and students in their classrooms.

As I go forward into the future with my team and in my new role, I will be open, flexible, optimistic,  ready to learn from and with all and practice an inquiry habit of mind.


2 Responses

  1. Great post! We talk a lot about 21st century skills for students and teachers, but not so much for leaders. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Congratulations on this new role and new step in your leadership journey! It sounds like you are headed in the right direction as you begin!

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